ESPON 2013 Programme

Aim and contents of the programme

The ESPON 2013 Programme, the European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion, is a research programme that supports spatial planning and territorial development in Europe. ESPON 2013 is a continuation of the ESPON 2006 Programme from the previous Structural Fund period. The aim of the ESPON 2013 Programme is to support territorial development and policy, both on the level of the European Union and the member states, through research, data and cooperative networks. Several research projects related to the territorial development, spatial planning and policy in Europe will be implemented during the Programme, in co-operation between European research institutions. The ESPON 2013 Programme has four priorities:

  • thematic research on spatial planning and development
  • targeted analysis of different types of territories
  • data, indicators and analytical tools
  • the development of co-operation and the dissemination and utilisation of research results.

The selected priorities promote research projects that support the deepening co-operation on spatial planning and territorial development in the member states and the preparation of the next Structural Fund programme. All EU-27 member states and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland participate in the co-operation. EU candidate countries have the opportunity to participate in the implementation of the ESPON 2013 Programme, as well.

Programme management and financing

The management and financing of the ESPON 2013 Programme is the responsibility of:

  1. the Monitoring Committee, with representatives from member states and the European Commission. The Finnish representative comes from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the deputy representative from the Ministry of the Environment
  2. the Managing Authority of the Programme, who continues to be the Ministry of the Interior of Luxembourg
  3. the Certifying Authority, who continues to be the Ministry of Finance of Luxembourg
  4. the Coordination Unit, comprising personnel hired with the programme funds, holding office in Luxembourg and coordinating the implementation of the Programme in practice
  5. transnational project groups who implement the financed research projects
  6. the national Espon Contact Point selected by each Member State.

The Finnish Espon Contact Point is the University of Eastern Finland (Karelian Institute). The task of the national ECP is to disseminate information about the Programme and the current research projects and results and to promote co-operation, both nationally and transnationally, within the European network.

The EU finances the ESPON 2013 Programme with 34 million euros during the period 2007–2013. Financing from the Member States is almost 13 million euros, which makes the overall budget of the Programme 47 million euros.

Implementation of the Programme

The ESPON 2006 Programme was concluded in spring 2007. Within the framework of the Programme, almost 30 individual research projects were executed, by over 100 research institutions from all over Europe.

The ESPON 2013 Programme was launched in January 2008. Research projects on various themes have been made public for applications during the programme period.

The Finnish research institutions wishing to participate in the research projects under the ESPON Programme were expected to network with the relevant European partners and draft a project application together.

The aim of ESPON 2013 is to support research projects that are concrete and easy to utilise. Therefore, the second priority of the Programme has given the spatial planning and territorial development actors in various countries the opportunity to determine which research targets are important, and to participate in their implementation, in co-operation with the research institutions. The idea is to use the results from ESPON 2006 research projects and the future results of the new period as much as possible. Within the second priority, the research is targeted towards a specific part of Europe (such as the Nordic countries or the Baltic region).

More information

Senior Advisor Juha Nurmi, the Ministry of the Environment, Department of the Built Environment, tel. +358 (0)40 159 8150,

Published 2013-10-25 at 10:23, updated 2013-10-25 at 10:21