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Commission promotes greater participation of businesses in regional innovation strategies

The Commission has given the green-light for the continuation of a support action aiming to improve regional innovation systems in low-growth and low-income regions in Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Croatia. Coordinated by the Commission's department for Regional and Urban policy and the Joint Research Centre, the initiative helps regions tackle bottlenecks to innovation, such as lack of interaction between local business spheres and academia, and achieve industrial transition. It will particularly focus on promoting a greater involvement of business partners and entrepreneurs in the design and implementation of regional innovation strategies, known as smart specialisation strategies.

Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu said: "This support action for those regions that need to catch up the most is part of our broader effort to help companies access Cohesion Policy funds so they can innovate, grow and prepare for the future."

Developed jointly with the European Parliament and implemented over 2014-2016, the action is renewed for two more years, to help regions prepare for efficient investments in research and innovation in the next long term EU budget 2021-2027. It is complementary to other initiatives, such as 'Stairway to Excellence', which helps regions identify EU resources to finance innovative projects and pair up with other regions with similar assets to create innovation clusters. The support action has a budget €3 million for 2018-2019 made available by the European Parliament.