Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 15 million
To improve the uptake of innovation by business and the promotion of research and technological development policies in the less-developed regions of the Community.

Abstract

Under Article 10 of the Regulation governing the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (2083/93 Official Journal No L 193 of 31.7.1993), the ERDF provides support for innovative actions in regional development through a number of pilot schemes. These innovative measures aim at developing new ways of introducing innovation and technology transfer in the regional agenda through demonstration projects.

The pilot project "Cooperation in innovation and technology transfer" is one of the eight priority areas identified for support under Article 10 for the period 1995-1999. The others concern:

- Internal inter-regional cooperation;
- External inter-regional cooperation;
- Cooperation in the Information Society;
- Cooperation in new sources of jobs;
- Cooperation with a cultural theme;
- Pilot projects in spatial planning;
- Urban pilot projects.

In addition to the support for innovative actions in the regions carried out under Article 10 of the ERDF Regulation, the specific RTD programme for the dissemination and optimization of RTD results (INNOVATION) supports a number of actions aimed at promoting innovation in the regions. These are aimed at:

- Helping the European Union's regions to develop coherent and effective technology strategies, policies and projects;
- Assisting the innovation and technology transfer services and infrastructures in the regions;
- Providing technical support to DG XVI (Regional and cohesion policy).

Calls for proposals under Article 10 of the ERDF and the INNOVATION programme are to be jointly managed by DG XVI and DG XIII in order to ensure that the synergies between the two are harnessed (see the "Implementation" section of this summary).

Subdivision

Three types of action:

- Elaboration of Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) through the development of partnerships among key regional actors;

- Preparing and launching Regional Technology Transfer projects (RTTs) in less favoured regions;

- Regional networking for exchange of know-how: dissemination of information and exchange of experience in relation to the abovementioned fields of action.

Implementation

The pilot project "Cooperation in innovation and technology transfer" is implemented by DG XVI of the European Commission within the framework of Article 10 of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Regulation.

The actions are implemented by calls for proposals for pilot schemes for the implementation of Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) and Regional Technology Transfer (RTT) pilot projects. These schemes are geared towards contributing to the economic development of regions eligible for assistance under the Structural Funds (especially Objective 1 (below-average development), Objective 2 (economic and social conversion of industrial areas in decline), Objective 5b (rural development) and Objective 6 (development of sparsely inhabited regions)).

Regional Innovation Strategies are designed to improve the capacity of regional actors to formulate policies which take account of the real needs of the productive sector and the strengths and capabilities of the regional RTD community. Based on partnerships between all the actors concerned, they provide a framework for both the European Union and the regions to optimize policy decisions regarding future investments in RTD and innovation and technology transfer initiatives at regional level.

The Commission finances up to 50% of the eligible costs for the elaboration of the Regional Innovation Strategy with a ceiling of ECU 250,000 per region. This covers financial support towards the coordination of the exercise (e.g. studies, visits, provision of a secretariat, coordination of necessary research work, information and dissemination activities, etc.) and the cost of bringing in external expertise. Each RIS project should comprise at least two local or regional authorities from at least two different regions in two Member States, although preference is to be given to proposals which involve between three and six regions from at least three different Member States. At least one third of the participating regions must come from Objective 1 and/ or Objective 6 regions.

RIS pilot actions under the ERDF are complemented by Regional Innovation and Technology Transfer Strategies (RITTS) which are implemented by DG XIII within the framework of the specific RTD programme for the dissemination and optimization of research results (INNOVATION). Covering all regions in the European Union, RITTS support local and regional governments and/or development organizations in the analysis and development of the innovation and technology transfer infrastructure of the region concerned.

RIS and RITTS are jointly managed by the services of DG XVI and DG XIII which are responsible for ensuring synergies and cooperation between the two actions (including project selection, management and follow-up, methodological support, exchange of experience and the dissemination of best practice). Regions having undertaken a RITTS exercise with support from DG XVI are eligible for support for a RIS, albeit at a reduced level (to take into account the work already supported).

Regional Technology Transfer Projects (RTTs), the second type of activity supported under the "Cooperation in innovation and technology transfer" pilot project, aim to stimulate the dissemination of technology and validate the results of research and development amongst enterprises most likely to have an impact on key economic sectors in less-developed regions.

This is to be achieved through the identification and selection of a number of pluri-regional projects having a clear innovative and demonstrative effect, particularly in regions which have previously elaborated a regional innovative strategy through projects such as Regional Technology Plans (old RIS) or RITTS.

RTT projects are divided into definition and implementation phases. The Commission provides financial support covering up to 75% of the costs of the definition phase (up to a ceiling of ECU 75,000). For the implementation phase, the Commission covers up to 50% of the eligible costs of the RTT project; the financial contribution is normally between ECU 1-3 million.

A third action is also included to promote regional networking for the exchange of know-how and the development and dissemination of activities conducted under the RIS and RTTs. These actions are carried out by the regions working together with assistance from a body of experts made available to them by the Commission.
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