The European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) have launched the call of interest for a new pilot action on Partnerships for Regional Innovation. The Pilot Action will involve up to 24 European participants (Member States, regions or groups of regions) who feel driven to transform their economies and societies and who are willing to further develop their own strategic policy framework dealing with innovation, industrial development, sustainability transitions and broader economic and social development. The deadline for applications is 25 April 2022.
The Partnerships for Regional Innovation are a complementary approach, which builds on positive experiences with smart specialisation strategies. The initiative aims to enhance the coordination and directionality of regional, national and EU R&I policies to implement Europe’s green and digital transitions and to tackle the innovation divide in the EU.
The Partnerships will be firmly anchored in the EU policy framework, supporting the implementation of the European Green Deal, Horizon Europe, Cohesion policy and NextGenerationEU. Particular attention will be placed on tools and governance mechanisms that mobilise multiple sources of funding and policies to amplify impact and that can help connect regional and national initiatives to EU initiatives for the twin transition.
Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions, said: “The experience, contacts, cooperation, shared interests and expertise that this initiative seeks to make available to local and regional authorities across the EU will help them successfully address the societal challenges we all currently face. In the longer term, this exercise will help to attract the necessary investment and mobilise in a coherent way all relevant policies and funding instruments.”
Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, said: “ Promoting and spreading innovation is key to succeed in the green and digital transitions. All regions have an innovation potential that has to be fully taped in order to leave no one behind. We need strong innovation partnerships anchored on smart specialisation strategies adapted to the strengths and challenges of each territory and integrating different funds and policies. Regions need to be central actors in shaping Europe’s innovative growth model. ”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “ Strong connections among the innovation actors are the foundations of thriving regional innovation ecosystems. The “Partnerships for Regional Innovation” will provide a platform for public and private players to invest in innovation and startups for a sustainable economy and society. The Partnerships will integrate all the available EU instruments to deliver tangible impacts. We need innovators and investors in every region and country. The Partnerships for Regional Innovation will connect them all to build a true pan-European Innovation Ecosystem.”
Participants in the Pilot Action will be expected to identify, in close collaboration with the JRC and the CoR, the areas they wish to focus the Pilot Action on. These can be socio-economic or policy challenges, specific economic sectors and/or policy areas or instruments. Activities under the Pilot Action will be tailored to the areas of most interest for each participant.
The deadline for applications is 25 April 2022. You will find more information and instructions on how to apply in President Tzitzikostas’ letter and its annex. The chosen territories will be announced in May and an official launch event is scheduled for 17 May.