27. October 2022Post-event blog for CINTRAN Academy event in Kozani

The CINTRAN project hosted the first Regions in Transition Academy, a face-to-face capacity-building event in CINTRAN focus region Western Macedonia.


The CINTRAN project, hosted by ICLEI Europe and the Regional Development Fund of Western Macedonia, sponsored the first Regions in Transition Academy, a face-to-face capacity-building event in CINTRAN focus region Western Macedonia on 5-6 October 2022. The Academy event represented an opportunity to discuss and unpack coal+ regions’ self-defined top priorities in an interactive manner with key stakeholders from all four CINTRAN regions (Western Macedonia, Greece; Ida-Virumaa, Estonia; Rhineland, Germany; and Silesia, Poland) and many more all across Europe.

During the two day event, different types of collaborative sessions were held, such as diverse workshops, roundtable discussions, panels of speakers, and full group plenary sessions, which allowed participants to ask questions and brainstorm ideas to solve one or more challenges faced by coal+ regions. 

50+ participants from 15 European countries were able to fully immerse themselves in a regional case study via a site visit at the West Macedonia Lignite Centre and related sites, which allowed them to critically assess land restoration, agricultural repurposing and RES deployment in the region’s just transition process.

The ultimate goal of the CINTRAN Academy event was to develop strong interaction, co-learning opportunities and chances for networking amongst all participants to find replicable solutions to mutual challenges.

To get a glimpse of the action packed agenda, scroll below and read through the session highlights:

Re-skilling and upskilling workers in Western Macedonia, Greece (CINTRAN region)

This workshop divided participants into two groups and focused on a specific challenges with which the CINTRAN region of Western Macedonia still struggles: re-skilling and upskilling workers, including long-term reforms in this direction. One group took a deep dive into the “Greek strategy for Just Transition & Re-skilling and Upskilling” and commented on all steps taken so far.  Clear results came out: 1.) the pandemic was a critical factor that minimized the citizens participation, and 2.) the dissemination process so far is considered as inappropriate, especially in terms of information on the upcoming actions.The second group focused on the design and delivery of training programs to interested parties in areas of “clean” energy. Resultantly, three-step methodology was proposed: 1) identifying the main occupation profiles in the coal industry and renewables sector, 2) documentation of skills in the coal industry and renewables sector, and 3) development of transition profiles based on skills matching.

How to navigate the Just Transition? Co-creating visions and projects in Silesia for the just post-coal future in Poland (CINTRAN region)

The workshop explored which structures, processes, tools can be used to build the capacity of local ecosystems in coal-dependent regions to co-create and co-develop transformative, people-powered portfolios of projects. Based on the case of Just Transition in Upper Silesia (Poland), two groups were playing the roles of various stakeholders (facilitators, observers, community members) in the community-based dialogue in the conflict situation (just transition: hope or disaster?) and tried to find out instruments and vehicles for navigating a just transition. The most inspiring result was an opportunity to play the opposite role the participants play in their community. 

(De)Centralized supply for energy resilience post-coal Slovenia

The workshop facilitated the discussion about future energy supply after the phase-out of coal and other fossil fuels. In a reflection about the workshop, Nico Natek (KSSENA) stated: 

It was concluded that the support of research and development will play an essential role in improving the technological capacity of the EU to progress towards the achievement of net-zero and energy independence faster and more effectively, the energy transition could already be achieved on the basis of existing technologies utilizing solar, wind and hydro energy as well as various types of biomass. However, this would require a notable adaptation of the way in which the energy is produced, how the value chain is structured and benefit is ensured for energy users. In this context the main focus of coal intensive regions should be put on developing systems with and around the demand side, whereby the formation of energy communities and prosumer-oriented approaches could streamline the development efforts and minimize the strain on required financial and physical resources.

Engaging and including passive stakeholders in the process of transforming the German Rhenish Revier (CINTRAN region)

This workshop  gave in-depth  insights to the various approaches of addressing civil and political stakeholders. Despite the different states in the process of transformation, all regions represented agreed on the importance of providing the necessary knowledge to all stakeholders in order to get them properly included.

Green economic diversification in the Northern Hungarian coal region

The session provided the space for participating coal regions to share their plans for green economic diversification. It highlighted the fact that participating coal regions have quite similar ideas on how they imagine the way of economic diversification in their regions. The main take-away of the discussion was that available energy with competitive prices is crucial for industrial installations, and, consequently, it is worthwhile to settle industry based on renewable energies and energy storage, which could then entail competitive advantages for the regions.

Repurposing mining areas and industrial sites to diversify the Estonian economy in Ida-Viru (CINTRAN region)

CINTRAN region Ida-Viru’s just transition was briefly introduced, including intervention logic, planned measures, and expected results. The session focused on the main questions: how do regions build up research & development and scientific networks? How to attract scientists and entrepreneurs? Examples of re-using former oil-shale mining and industrial areas, plans, and challenges were then discussed and analyzed. In doing so, it showed that long term economic diversification and structural change is possible only with regional innovation. 

Elaboration and implementation of the Territorial just transition plan in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

During the session dedicated to the Stara Zagora, the region’s Territorial Just Transition Plan  was used as a live case to analyze strengths and weaknesses of such plans. Three main questions were presented: Are there helpful and useful takeaways from the Stara Zagora Territorial Just Transition Plan; – What main shortcomings to be identified; – How the current challenges for Stara Zagora Region could be overcome. Main takeaways were: 1.) more clear communication is needed to raise public awareness, 2.) to better use the tools and resources the local policy makers already have available, 3) the importance in working alongside businesses/stakeholders to guarantee a better energy transition. 


The event additionally featured two panel discussions. Speakers included: 

  • Roberto Cantoni (CINTRAN partner, University of Sussex, UK) – The CINTRAN coping strategy inventory
  • Padraig Boland (Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board, Ireland) –  Employment Continuity for Peatland Workers, Families and Communities in the Irish Midlands
  • Konstantina Togaridou (DCN Global, Aristotle University, Greece) – Effective communications about the just transition
  • Tomáš Burdych (Ministry of Regional Development, Czech Republic) – National RE:START Strategy and the Czech territorial just transition plan
  • Serafeim Michas (University of Piraeus Research Center, Greece) – Exploring transition pathways for the heating sector in Megalopolis via the Tipping+ project
  • Martin Fessard (Post-Mining Chair, Lille School of Architecture and Landscape, France) – Bio-based materials as lever for energetic efficiency and local economy in Nord Pas-de-Calais


Missed the event, but interested in taking part in the next CINTRAN capacity-building event? Join  the discussion in the next webinar in our coal+ regions in transition event series. Stay tuned here


The CINTRAN project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 884539. The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the authors and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of CINEA or other EU agencies or bodies.