Cultural and creative industries as a driver of innovation and competitiveness The cultural and creative industries (CCI)[[CCIs defined as in the European Commission Green Paper ‘Unlocking the Potential of Cultural and Creative Industries’:https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52010DC0183&from=EN]] are an important source of growth and job creation in the European economy. The growth of this sector has raised interest at policy level for its innovation potential and for contributing to improved competitiveness. The challenge is to understand how to realise the full potential of CCIs as a driver for innovation[[ In this context, innovation should be understood as any new creative idea, which can take the form of products, processes, services, technologies, organisational or business models that are made available to markets, governments and society.]], create stronger links with other sectors and contribute to strengthening the European economy, society and its sustainability.The cultural and creative industries are as diverse as our cultures. Building on our cultural heritage and using their creativity, they pursue a wide variety of activities, ranging from cultural performances to creative design of products and shaping the public image of countries and regions. The CCI sector counts many self-employed, as well as some very large market players for example in the audio-visual and music sectors. Markets in this sector are heterogeneous and there is no comprehensive mapping at EU level. The CCI sector has been growing rapidly and, in some regions of Europe, it is outperforming more established sectors in terms of growth and employment.The cultural and creative industries have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The social confinement is likely to have a long-term impact by significantly reducing incomes and adding to unemployment. These problems will need to be taken into consideration in research, including proposals for reinvigorating the sector.Research proposals should explore the innovation potential of the cultural and creative industries, their role as drivers of innovation in other sectors and the potential for strengthening competitiveness. This could involve strengthening links between science and art. The research should involve the CCIs and other creative actors themselves, policy makers and other stakeholders in order to ensure that the activities are relevant to the end users. Research should study how cultural and creative EU industries could benefit from new technologies, new business models, skills development, new distribution and/or promotion models with the purpose of strengthening their performance. Research should also identify policy measures for further strengthening the competitiveness and drawing benefit from the innovation potential of the sector in the EU and the international markets.