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S2E Launching Event: Stairway to Excellence

General Information

The Smart Specialisation Platform of the European Commission's DG Joint Research Centre and DG REGIO jointly organised a launching event of the Stairway to Excellence (S2E) Project.  This event offered a first opportunity to identify the key elements for building successful synergies and gave a useful insight into how synergies could be achieved in practice.  A diverse set of experiences from five EU countries (CY, CZ, FR, ES and UK) and an international organization were presented as a source of inspiration for other regional and national managing authorities and the research community. 

As an outcome of this event, the European Commission, JRC-IPTS published the S3 Policy Brief Series No. 12/2014 "Synergies between EU R&I Funding Programmes. Policy Suggestions from the Launching Event of the Stairway to Excellence Project".  It addresses the concept of synergies arising from the two major EU funding sources (The European Structural and Investment Funds and Horizon 2020) in the context of the new Stairway to Excellence Project.  Read Abstract.



Building excellence in a given area of research and innovation often takes years if not decades of sustained efforts. The development of good national/regional research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3) leads regions from targeted EU countries to identify a limited number of research areas and industrial activities with high innovation potential – to be reinforced and developed using European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and thus becoming more excellent and competitive in Horizon2020 calls.  Supporting synergies between the two funding sources will deliver additional gains in terms of innovation results, close the innovation gap in Europe and promote economic growth.

The "Stairway to Excellence" (S2E) European Pilot Project is centred on:

  • Providing assistance to EU13 regions and countries with the aim of closing the innovation gap, promoting excellence in all regions and EU countries;
  • Stimulating the early and effective implementation of national and regional Smart Specialisation Strategies.

Objectives of the Conference

  • To launch the project and explain its rationale, objectives and roadmap.
  • To raise awareness of the actions needed to enable synergies between different EU funding programmes for research and innovation
  • To share experiences in combining Structural Funds and Framework Programme to improve excellence in R&I systems
  • Draw lessons for the future

Who should attend?

  • National and regional managing authorities both from EU countries and regions very successful in the past Framework Programmes and from the countries targeted by the project
  • National contact points both from countries and regions very successful in the past Framework Programmes and from the countries targeted by the project
  • National and regional authorities in charge of Smart specialisation strategies from the countries targeted by the project
  • Members of the Horizon 2020 programme committee


Agenda and Presentations

Full Agenda

Presentations of Sessions II: Key elements for Building Successful Synergies: Good practice examples 
Moderator: Andrea Conte, S2E Project Leader, Knowledge for Growth, JRC-IPTS Seville of European Commission

Presentations of Sessions III: New Challenges and Opportunities from EU R&I Funding Instruments: Good practice examples
Moderator: Marek Przeor, Competence Centre Smart and Sustainable Growth, DG REGIO, European Commission


S2E Launching Event: Stairway to Excellence venue
Corinthia Hotel, Prague (CZ)

Registration information

Registration is closed.