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Empowering Transition: COALition’s Path to Sustainable Regional Innovation

The COALition project aims to strengthen regional innovation ecosystems in coal-dependent areas by establishing regional centres of excellence and defining a common strategic agenda for sustainable energy so as to facilitate their transition in a fair and inclusive way. The regions have been carefully selected (Western Macedonia – GR, Centre – RO, South East – BG) among the EU countries in transition, which are also characterised as catching up, in an attempt to maximise the long-term impact of the European research and innovation strategies to be developed within the project, as these territories will receive significant funding for their green transition and COALition aims to create a multiplier effect of the investments made by attracting and mobilising external ones.

Project start date: 1 January 2023

Project end date: 31 December 2026

Project duration: 48 months

COALition is a project that aims to create a joint strategy for sustainable energy among three selected territories in under-transition EU states (Western Macedonia – GR, Centru – RO, Southeastern – BG) that are also characterized as widening.

The project seeks to create regional excellence hubs that will co-define the regions’ joint priorities and action plan to facilitate their transitions, following a bottom-up, multi-stakeholder participatory approach.

The project also aims to establish permanent Regional Excellence Hubs in the three selected territories that are coal-dependent and also belong to countries that are characterized as less advanced in terms of R&I performance.

The excellence hubs will be composed of key representatives of the Quadruple Helix approach, and their main objective is to facilitate the just transition and transform the regions to climate-neutral, thriving economies.

Place-based approaches are collaborative, long-term approaches to build thriving communities delivered in a defined geographic location. This approach is ideally characterized by partnering and shared design, shared stewardship, and shared accountability for outcomes and impacts.


1. Setup and/or strengthen representative communities (hubs) of key actors of the quadruple helix in a regional context in the SE domain in the 3 territories.

2. Advance research & mature technological solutions to facilitate regional transition.

3. Create new business opportunities for economic development and jobs in the areas to attract entrepreneurial activity and talents and establish favorable environments for investments.

4. Increase the capacities of the working force (researchers, entrepreneurs, employees, etc.) in the place-based innovation ecosystems.


  • 3 Excellence Hubs Established (1 per region)
  • 3 R&I projects funded
  • Action Plan with 30 Pilot and Demonstration Projects
  • 24 Workshops, 30 Innovation Missions and 24 Science exchanges
  • 900+ people trained


Centre For Research & Technology Hellas – Coordinator

Regional Development Fund of Western Macedonia

Public Power Corporation

Just Transition Institute Greece

Knowledge and Innovation Consultants Simvouleftiki Monoprosopi EPE

University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology “G.E. Palade” of Târgu Mureș

Mures County Council


Mures SME Employers Union


University of Sofia “St.Kliment Ohridski” – Department of Regional and Political Geography

Stara Zagora Regional Development Agency

David Holding

Green Balkans

Institute of Information and Communication Technologies – BAS

WIP Renewable Energies

COALition Project – Horizon Europe

Grant Agreement #101087022