Alpine Region Preparatory Action Fund (ARPAF): first five projects selected

22nd Dec 2017

Since the launch of the Strategy, the Action Groups as well as the Executive Board of the Strategy have identified a number of themes and issues that need further and deeper investigation and preparatory activities in order to achieve the set goals.

To support this, the European Parliament has taken initiative to introduce an allocation of EUR 2 million in the 2017 budget and mandated the European Commission to implement this preparatory action.

The European Commission awarded a direct grant to the Land of Salzburg which has organised the implementation process and – after consultation with the Executive Board - invited the Action Groups to come up with project applications. Five projects, which start in 2018, were selected by the Executive Board in a first round and the Annual Forum was an excellent occasion to present them:

CirculAlps: Innovation to foster sustainability and circular economy in Alpine forestry value chain


Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (AT, Lead)
Representative: Dr. Thomas Schnabel

Centre of Studies of Alps of Pieve Tesino (IT)
BIOPRO Baden-Würtemberg GmbH (DE)
Eurac research (IT)
Slovenian Forestry Institute (SI)


CirculAlps aims at promoting circular & bio economies in the Alpine timber sector. Furthermore, bio-based innovation & circular economy in wood supply chain has been recently & repeatedly identified as key for mountain regions by institutions such as Euromontana, Alpine Convention and Agricultural European Innovation Partnership. Timber value chain can benefit from these approach. 

Thanks to the strong expertise of the consortium the project seeks to: 

  1. Analyse current state of art and best practices 
  2. Evaluate the specific potential for innovative circular and bio economy value chains in the EUSALP region 
  3. Highlight enabling and transferring factors. 

The findings will be collected in a feasibility study. Furthermore, the outputs and recommendations will identify missing elements for forestry entrepreneurs to develop new value chains and set concrete actions and tools facilitate them. 

TRANSALP: Bringing circular economy to the farmers in rural Alpine Region for sustainable growth


Cluster Agency Baden-Württemberg (DE, Lead)
Representative: Dr. Gerd Meier zu Koecker

Plastic Innovation Competence Center (CH)
Provincia autonoma di Trento (IT)
Poly4EmI hosts by Anteja ECG d.o.o. (SI)
Bavarian State Ministry for Environment and Consumer Protection (DE)


Medicinal & Aromatic Plants (MAPs) are botanical raw materials that are used for therapeutic, aromatic or culinary purposes as components of cosmetics, medicinal or food products. There is an increasing demand for Medicinal & Aromatic Plants thanks to an increased production of healthcare formulations; MAPs based supplements have a market of $35 billion p. a. 
The project aims to bring the Circular Economy approach to farmers in rural Alpine Region for more sustainable growth by establishing Medicinal & Aromatic Plants value chains and supporting Green Infrastructure networks by promoting sustainable practices and awareness raising.

The main results of the project are a strategic overview on how this cross-cutting topic can work in AR, one fully developed Medicinal & Aromatic Plants value chain, proposals for upgrading skills of actors and first experiences how green infrastructure networks can work in practice.

ALPJOBS: Anticipate Future Jobs in Alpine Remote Areas


Edmund Mach Foundation (IT, Lead) 
Representative: Dr. Gian Antonio Battistel

Polo Poschiavo (CH)
Environment Agency (AT)
Plattform Land (IT)
Slovene Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry (SI)


The project aims at identifying attractive job profiles, which have the potential to induce young people to stay in or to return to Alpine rural areas. The project focuses on the identification, analysis and mapping of specific activities as well as on the exchange among stakeholders. 

The identification of job profiles as a contribution to counterbalance depopulation in Alpine rural areas will be carried out through meetings in selected areas and through collection of good practices gathering of information from enterprises, relevant institutions and young adults, where the matching of the labour demand and offer was successfully implemented. In doing so, the project can be seen as innovative project responding to the actual needs in the Alpine Region. 

The project results will provide ideas for the implementation of the work plans of EUSALP AG 3, AG 6 and possibly other AGs, such as AG 7.

HEALPS: Alpine Health Tourism – Positioning the Alpine region as globally attractive health promoting place


Innovation and Technology Transfer Salzburg (At, Lead)
Representative: Bernhard Lehofer

Foundation Cluster Technologies For Living Environments (IT)
University of Applied Sciences Chur (CH)


Outdoor recreation in natural environments is becoming an important aspect of healthy living and a remedy against the deficiencies of urban life separated from nature. With its exceptional nature, cultural heritage, healthy climate and long tourism tradition, the Alpine region possesses significant prerequisites to benefit from this trend. 

In contrast to the current, fragmented approaches towards the promotion of Alpine assets, the project ALPSHEALTH aims to develop a common basis for the positioning of the Alpine region as an attractive health-promoting place through data compilation, generation and the visualisation of unique Alpine assets related to health. 

The project incorporates four different perspectives: Alpine resources, customers and providers as major stakeholders, education and technology. This approach addresses EUSALP’s strategy of a better utilisation of Alpine-specific resources and creates a basis for the development of Alpine health tourism value chains to drive job creation and growth in remote Alpine areas. 

CrossBorder: Cross-border mobility in the Alpine Region


Swiss Center for mountain regions (CH, Lead)
Representative: Thomas Egger

Office of the Tyrolian Government (AT)
CIPRA International (LI)


Transport networks have for a long time been planned in a purely national context. These transport networks therefore are no longer in coherence with the increasing passenger flows across borders. This holds particularly true for public transport systems. Most of the commuter’s transport flows across borders are by car. Congested roads with a negative impact on economy, society and the environment are the consequence. 

The aims of the project are:

  1. To establish an overview of cross-border mobility across the Alpine Region with a focus on daily commuting;
  2. To identify gaps of cross-border mobility with respect to infrastructure and soft factors;
  3. To identify solutions for facilitating daily cross-border passenger flows by sustainable transport modes through new opportunities offered by digitalisation;
  4. To provide a basis for future activities of AG4 and AG5 of EUSALP;
  5. To implement the findings in several hotspots for cross-border-commuting in the Alpine Region.