Dr Irene McMaster is a Senior Knowledge Exchange Fellow in the European Policies Research Centre. She specialises in regional policy and cross-national research on EU and third country cooperation, with emphasis on Nordic States, Ireland and the UK. She is currently working with the Norwegian Ministry for Local Government and Regional Development as they lead the Territorial Agenda 2030 Pilot Action ‘Small Places Matter’. The Pilot Action is a three-year initiative and focuses on the vital role of small towns and villages in the development of integrated territorial development processes, strengthening the territorial coordination of policies and cooperation between territories. Over 23 years, she has been involved in a wide variety of regional policy research including a project on the revised Territorial Agenda; the future of territorial cooperation in the UK post Brexit; and ESPON studies of the spatial and urban dimensions of Cohesion policy programmes. She has led projects supporting the development and drafting of the 2021-2027 Ireland/ Northern Ireland PEACE Plus programme and Northern Periphery and Arctic Programmes, impact evaluations of the NPA and Interact programmes, and several major research projects on territorial cooperation in the Arctic as well as evaluation and research studies of EU territorial and spatial development policies.