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Structural change: innovative projects, new jobs

Innovative projects will receive funding of €662 million until 2038. The 5-location program supports projects as investments in forward-looking structural change in the Ruhr region. Submissions are sought from five municipalities and five fields of action.


Logo of the 5-location program in black and different blue tones.

Future Projects in the Ruhr Valley

The Ruhr region is on its way to becoming the greenest industrial region. The nationwide decision to phase out coal-fired power generation is an important milestone here. With the 5-location program of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Ruhr Metropolis is proactively managing structural change: with innovative projects for targeted investments and new jobs. Funds from the Coal Regions Investment Act will support forward-looking projects with a maximum of 662 million euros until 2038. The five locations are Duisburg, Gelsenkirchen, Herne, Hamm and the Unna district.


662 Mio. €  in Funding

The following projects are being supported:

1. Sustainable and targeted land development

The Ruhr Metropolis is a polycentric conurbation. That is precisely why land must be used efficiently. Economic growth requires commercial and industrial sites. The development of brownfield sites is one solution, also to meet climate protection and sustainability goals. The 5 Locations Program project office provides support in screening and developing conversion potential.


2. Intermodal, new mobility

The Ruhr region needs a future-proof mobility system. Europe's largest metropolis is not yet exploiting its current and future potential for more growth. The project office is helping to develop concepts together with partners to realize the goods and passenger mobility of the future.


3. Energy and climate protection - integrated in the economy

The energy source hard coal and the coal and steel industry have shaped the Ruhr region for a long time. Since then, the industrial core of the Ruhr region has been steadily becoming more resource-efficient and climate-friendly and thus remains fit for the future.  The 5-Location Program aims to drive forward projects that build on this principle. Positioning the industrial region as a global leader in resource efficiency and digitization is an opportunity for the Ruhr Metropolis. On its way to becoming the greenest industrial region in the world, the Ruhr region can establish itself as a pioneer in research and development and new production processes, just as it has in technical environmental protection.


4. Further development of innovation systems

The successes to date in the transformation of the Ruhr Metropolis into a knowledge metropolis have shown that new and existing innovation networks can only be created and maintained with innovations across the board and at the top of the economy. With consistent action, the economy in the Ruhr Metropolis can be strengthened through efficient research and development. In this context, it is important to jointly expand the areas that stand for a climate-friendly, resource-efficient, and digitalized economy.


5. Education value chain

The challenge of optimizing the regional education system for a post-fossil and digital economy must be taken up by each of the five locations. The focus here is less on the structures of the education system and more on its ability to train and qualify people in the best possible way. The Ruhr region benefits from its high density of training and research locations. The 5-Location Program supports local authorities in implementing concepts and strategies for the transformation to a resilient economic region.


"The project office of the Business Metropole Ruhr makes an important contribution to the implementation of the 5-location program. Furthermore, it supports districts and cities through its consulting services, for example with a pool of helpers, quite significantly in the qualification of innovative, creative, and forward-looking project ideas. Our common goal is for these innovative projects to create well-paid jobs for people in the region."

Mona Neubaur Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

Help with promotion

The project office of the Business Metropole Ruhr works closely with the municipalities and assists in the process of preparing concrete project outlines. The exchange with the location managers of the cities is particularly important. The project office thus helps with the qualification of funding applications and serves as a contact for all stakeholders in the process.


Two committees for structural change

The regional action concept is the basis for identifying suitable project approaches. It was developed together with agiplan GmbH. In close coordination with RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, there is also a scientific indicator system. With the help of these, projects are to be evaluated as objectively as possible.

Two committees accompany the process through to funding: the Strategic Advisory Board and the Structural Strengthening Council. Both bodies are made up of high-caliber representatives from politics, administration, business, science and NGOs and represent a comprehensive spectrum of stakeholders.
The Strategic Advisory Council primarily negotiates fundamental issues relating to the funding system. The Structural Strengthening Council is actively involved in project qualification and selection, thus ensuring that funded projects can build on broad support.

The core of the Coal Regions Investment Act's funding framework comprises the five locations. In consultation with these municipalities, the program can also include neighboring municipalities under certain conditions. The program thus offers a unique opportunity for the entire region.


Your contact regarding the 5-Location Program

Michael KubicaProject Manager
Structural Politics & Subsidies

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