Since its inception in 1985, the AER has always had at its core to facilitate experience exchange and policy learning. The community the AER creates between its member regions, which have both very diverse contexts and shared challenges, is an essential element for mutual learning to happen.
Facilitating the knowledge flow
Knowledge in the AER is incremental and never static. Members present a practice that works, share a concern or an idea for joint action. Then this leads to experience exchange in an event, a working group or a project. When new findings arise within these contexts, the results are brought back to the network and inspire other regions.
The AER provides a framework for its members to initiate mutual learning activities on any topic relevant to regional policymaking. This can be done through:
- thematic events (see our Knowledge Transfer Toolkit to get a glimpse of the variety of possibilities)
- thematic working groups
- bilateral peer to peer meetings
- knowledge transfer activities organised in the context of EU co-funded projects
The main idea is to make it easy for AER members to engage in exchanges with peers across wider Europe. To get feedback, share ideas, and develop joint initiatives.
Peer learning for policy innovation
Peer learning supports innovation in the public sector, via the sharing of good practices, but also by creating spaces of trust and exchanges where policymakers can get feedback, test ideas, find a community to inspire and support their regional initiatives.
Having an international network is instrumental for the development and implementation of new policies and practices in the regions. It encourages connectors, bridge-builders, catalysts for change, to further connect a diversity of stakeholders and develop or support new initiatives.
Read more about the AER network.
The Knowledge Transfer Facilitator
The AER has built an expertise in peer learning and knowledge transfer, which is widely recognised among institutions and partners.
From the famed regional peer review methodology developed back in 2006 and used in several EU-funded projects on topics such as sustainable energy communities, financing of renewable energy infrastructure, the creation of innovation-based jobs or regional strategies for sustainable tourism, to the AER mutual learning events which gathered politicians, academia, NGOs and business on hot topics such as digital health innovation, artificial intelligence, the sharing economy, industry 4.0 and innovation in the food value chain, the AER has constantly been gathering stakeholders across silos to exchange and learn from each other.