Skip Trinity Banner Navigation

Skip to main content »

Trinity College Dublin

Skip Main Navigation
The ERC logo


City-Regions as Intelligent Territories: Inclusion, Competitiveness and Learning

The Research

The main objective of CRITICAL is to test how the concepts of a knowledge society can be applied within the context of cities using holistic approaches to collective learning, competitiveness, sustainability and cohesion.

Much has been written recently about knowledge and learning and its role in social and economic development particularly for specific places. Successful places are claimed to be learning regions, and so many city and regional authorities aim to develop knowledge-based activities, or to create learning communities.

Within these strategies and ambitions the role of the tertiary educational infrastructure is often emphasised and policies aim to enlist such institutions in addressing the needs of disadvantaged groups and communities and in developing high status knowledge-based industries. Universities in particular are seen as providing a comprehensive role in revitalising communities, rebuilding social capital and supporting new governance systems.

The project will focus on the process of developing learning region strategies and examine whether the underlying assumptions from theory are possible away from the usual exemplar regions.

There are five detailed objectives:

(i) To test theories relating to knowledge and learning societies through empirical investigation within selected cities.

(ii) To identify the key roles played by cities in the wider knowledge economies of their regions/countries.

(iii) To investigate the institutions involved in collective learning processes within the case study cities.

(iv) To assess the success of existing strategies to enhance learning and knowledge development within the cities.

(v) To develop indicators relating to knowledge and learning processes.

CRITICAL is funded within the 'Improving Human Potential' programme of the European Commission's Fifth Framework Research Programme and runs for three years.

More information is available on the CRITICAL homepage.


There are three other teams involved in CRITICAL. Further details about participating teams can be found by clicking on the appropriate links.

CURDS (University of Newcastle, UK)
ERP (University of Dortmund, Germany)
Sente (University of Tampere, Finland)

Publications and Reports

Where available, all reports can be accessed via the CRITICAL homepage.


A series of events took place across Europe in November and December 2005 to present the findings from the CRITICAL project, which culminated in a final conference in Berlin on the 8th December.

The Dublin event took place on the 2nd December 2005 in Croke Park.

There were presentations on the day from each of our project partners and these are available for download (Powerpoint Presentations * .ppt).

CRITICAL Overview Presentation. (David Charles, CURDS, University of Newcastle, UK)

Tampere City-Region: Learning for competitiveness and inclusion? (Mika Kautonen, Sente, University of Tampere, Finland)

Networks and Pods of Learning: The Dortmund Findings. (Lars Tata, ERP, University of Dortmund, Germany)

From rustbelt to creative city: repositioning Newcastle as a city of learning and culture. (David Charles, CURDS, University of Newcastle, UK)

Melbourne as a City-Region, as a Learning City. (Chris Duke, RMIT University, Australia)

Dublin: From goldrush governance to sustainability? (James Wickham, ERC, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)

More information

More information about the events can be found on the CRITICAL Roadshow webpages.

All other up to date news can be found on the CRITICAL homepage.

ERC Team

ERC researchers working on CRITICAL are:

James Wickham t: +353 1 608 1875
Grainne Collins    
Emma Calvert

For further information on a specific researcher, please click on the appropriate link.

Back to Research Projects



Last updated: Jul 15 2011.