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REWARD - Retaining and attracting knowledge workers and skills for regional development

In knowledge-based economies, knowledge, information and skills play a significant role in fostering investment, business creation and economic growth. Work is becoming more skilled across industries and within individual occupations. Knowledge workers are these people who either work in knowledge-based sectors or have specific skills and competencies and actively participate in the utilisation and creation of knowledge. Regional innovation ecosystems often face the challenge of creating and retaining an adequate pool of highly skilled workers. Indeed, the lack of a solid skills base for future-oriented occupations is a particular challenge for regions that are either in industrial transition, located at the periphery of the EU or close to their respective capitals.

In response to global trends, technological development and the emergence of new forms of work and lifestyles, policymakers need to develop a better understanding of the brain-drain brain-gain phenomenon and take action for the benefit of communities by adapting their policies for developing skills for smart specialisation, industrial transition and entrepreneurship. Against this background, REWARD brings together 9 partners from 2 transition regions (FI, IE) and 6 less developed regions (HR, PT, IT, SK, PL, CZ) to find solutions to these challenges.

REWARD aims to improve regional policies and programmes for retaining and attracting knowledge workers for regional development. It will identify, analyse, disseminate and transfer good practices among regional policy actors in 4 complementary areas. The specific objectives are thus to:
- Improve the effectiveness of university-industry collaboration as a means of retaining graduates in existing jobs
- Support entrepreneurship and increase business support to create new jobs in the economy
- Improve interventions that enhance the quality of life and foster regional attractiveness
- Adapt to new forms of work (digital nomads, remote work, second homeowners).

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