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Regional innovation - Analysis of RITTS and Trans-Regional Innovation Projects

The European Commission, DG XIII, has published a call for proposals concerning projects for Regional Innovation and Technology Transfer Strategies and Infrastructures (RITTS), and Trans Regional Innovation Projects under the Community's specific programme for the dissemination and optimization of the results of RTD activities (INNOVATION).

Proposals are invited for the analysis of Regional Innovation and Technology Transfer Strategies and Infrastructures (RITTS), for Trans Regional Innovation Projects, and for the relevant accompanying measures.

Regional Innovation and Technology Transfer Strategies and Infrastructures (RITTS) are aimed at supporting local and regional governments and/or development organizations in the analysis of their innovation, technology transfer and R&D infrastructures in view of the development (in partnership with the main actors concerned) of more efficient innovation support and promotion policies in the region concerned. This includes a thorough assessment of technology requirements, of local needs, capabilities and potential, including managerial, financial, commercial, training and organizational issues, as well as purely technological ones.

The resulting strategy should provide a framework for optimizing innovation policies and infrastructures at the regional level, especially with regard to their relevance to the needs of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It should be designed to promote cooperation between the private sector, SMEs in particular, the research, technological development and innovation community, and public administration with a view to improving the innovative capacity of a region.

Trans Regional Innovation projects aim to support local/regional authorities and/or development agencies in carrying out pilot trans-regional collaboration projects aimed at complementing, giving a concrete content to and/or reinforcing results obtained within the framework of RITTS type projects or similar exercises, such as Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS). In particular by pooling their resources and competences in terms of innovation support or by implementing, within a structured framework, recommendations arising from these projects.

Accompanying measures aim to support and formalize the exchange of experience between regions participating or having participated in RITTS and similar projects, such as Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS), as well as to diffuse more widely the RITTS philosophy and results. These may include:

- Organization of conferences, seminars, workshops, permanent working groups, etc.;
- Supporting studies (for example, the analysis of best practice within RITTS projects, the analysis of success factors for RITTS, follow-up after Commission support, etc.);
- Preparation and diffusion of information documents and newsletters, possibly through the Internet;
- Organization of staff exchanges.

Proposals relating to RITTS and Trans Regional Innovation Projects may be submitted either by regional authorities from the European Community and the European Economic Area (and, under certain conditions, from other eligible European or extra-European countries), or by organizations in charge of economic development within the regions concerned. Proposals for accompanying measures are sought from pan-European networks or consortia of organizations or institutions with recognized competence.

Proposals selected will take the form of shared-cost actions or accompanying measures. Community funding for RITTS projects will not exceed 50% of the cost of the projects. Maximum contribution will be up to ECU 250,000 for RITTS in European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) assisted areas, and up to ECU 175,000 for RITTS in non-assisted areas.

The work programme relating to this call, details of proposal submission procedures and a specimen standard contract of the type which will be concluded with successful applicants are available on request from the Commission.

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