A partnership in a new thematic area can be proposed by any EU region or group of EU regions, which will act as leading region(s) provided that this corresponds to the priority areas of their Smart Specialisation Strategy and the interest of their industry to develop investment projects. A proposal can be launched by a regional authority and/or Managing Authorities of the ERDF Funds or other organisations mandated for this task.
Criteria to be fulfilled by interregional partnerships for establishing a new Thematic Area:
- The regional partnership should be composed of at least 3 regions from 3 different EU Member States;
- The thematic area should correspond to the leading regions' smart specialisation strategy;
- A commitment letter signed by the representative authority of the leading regions to ensure political commitment and resources for the management of the partnership for at least 2 years;
- High relevance and importance of the proposed thematic area for industrial modernisation.
Possible linkages with and plans for the set-up of related European Strategic Cluster Partnerships for smart specialisation investments are encouraged and would be a particular asset.
All regions are encouraged to involve cluster organisations and industry stakeholders when setting up a new thematic area to ensure that this corresponds to the interest of the industry for developing investment projects in this area.
Lead regions should ensure that this work is open and inclusive to all interested and committed EU regions aiming to join the thematic area.