Partnerships for Regional Innovation

The Partnerships for Regional Innovation (PRI) are a new approach to place-based innovation policy which builds on positive experiences with smart specialisation strategies.

The ongoing deep transformations of production and consumption systems are a momentous occasion to innovate, build stronger economies and fairer societies. In this context the Committee of Regions (CoR) has partnered with the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) to explore the development of innovation partnerships fit for the green and digital transition.

The Partnerships for Regional Innovation (PRI) are a complementary approach which builds on positive experiences with smart specialisation strategies. PRI aims to test tools to enhance the coordination and directionality of regional, national and EU innovation policies to implement Europe’s green and digital transitions and to tackle the innovation divide in the EU. PRI will be firmly anchored in the EU policy framework, supporting the implementation of the European Green Deal, Horizon Europe, Cohesion policy and NextGenerationEU.

PRI seeks to accelerate transformative outcomes by introducing local missions to coordinate actions under a single directional logic, exploring broad-ranging policy mixes for system-level innovation. PRI has a strong focus on innovation policy, but it also encompasses and inspires industrial, employment, education and social policies. PRI implies new ways of working across government departments and levels focused on addressing territorial challenges.

PRI places particular emphasis on actions with strong transformative potential: it focuses on the further development of aspects of innovation strategies such as broad stakeholder engagement and mobilisation, multi-level governance, synergies between policies and between funds, broad-based innovation for SMEs, the social dimension of innovation, and directions for innovation that lead to co-benefits for the economy, society and the environment.

Why do we need PRI?

PRI comes as a response to the urgent call of the European Green Deal to address the unprecedented challenge posed by climate change in ways that strengthen social and territorial cohesion and ensure that Europe thrives in the green and digital economy of the future.
Innovation is about doing things differently. PRI seeks to adopt a broad and systemic framing of innovation, recognising that the levers for transformative change and all its economic, social and environmental promise lie not just in science and technology but also in the very design of our production and consumption systems.

PRI seeks to explore and experiment with new approaches designed to join up efforts across government and stakeholders, develop partnerships and amplify impact. There is a need for a strategic framework not just for growth, but also for other investments and stakeholder actions in our transition towards sustainable development paths. Elements of this framework - such as broad stakeholder coordination - are already present in smart specialisation strategies, whereas others will have to be introduced based on sound evidence and lessons from leading policy practice.

The PRI Playbook and Pilot Action

The main reference document underpinning the Partnerships for Regional Innovation - PRI Pilot Action is the "PRI Playbook", developed by the JRC-European Commission with the support of a Scientific Committee of recognised experts. The initial edition of the PRI Playbook includes proven tools, inspired by leading innovation policy practice across Europe and the world. Over the course of the pilot, the tools will be further improved, adapted and tested against the realities of European regions and Member States. The PRI Playbook is aimed at inspiring all levels of government to better leverage policies for innovation, including in domains outside the traditional remit of research and innovation policy.

The JRC will support the pilot and work closely with regions and Member States to co-develop the Playbook, linking participants to appropriate in-house or external expertise, developing relevant policy intelligence, documenting and disseminating broader lessons. The Pilot will also be supported by the dedicated Scientific Committee and other relevant experts.

Activities under the Pilot Action will be tailored to the areas of most interest for each participant. They can include:
  • Thematic workshops
  • Exchanges of good practices
  • In-depth policy reviews with the involvement of external experts
  • Tailored analytical insights and support from JRC staff (e.g. resilience dashboards, complexity analysis…)

Each participating region will cover the costs associated to its participation to the PRI Pilot.

The expected duration of the Pilot Action is 1 year.

The Pilot will be designed in a way that it remains fully in line with the EU policy framework, avoiding duplication of activities and measures that already exist under Cohesion Policy, while fostering synergies with other EU policies, in particular the European Green Deal and Horizon Europe. In particular, the PRI pilot is not linked in any way and may not prejudice the European Commission's assessment of the fulfilment criteria for smart specialisation during the 2021-27 programming period.

PRI Scientific Committee

A Scientific Committee of recognised experts in innovation policy, territorial development and sustainability transitions, Chaired by Luc Soete (University of Maastricht) and Sylvia Schwaag-Serger (Lund University) provides conceptual, analytical and strategic inputs to the long-term development of PRI.

​​​​​​​The other members of the Scientific Committee are: Katalin Erdős (University of Pecs), Dominique Foray (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), Luke Georghiou (University of Manchester),
Paula Kivimaa (SYKE, Finnish Environment Institute), Phoebe Koundouri (Athens University of Economics and Business), Philip McCann (Sheffield University), Kevin Morgan (Cardiff University), Slavo Radosevic (University College London), Andrea Renda (Centre for European Policy Studies), Andres Rodriguez-Pose (London School of Economics), Daria Gołębiowska-Tataj (Tajaj Innovation) and Michaela Trippl (University of Vienna).

Call for Expression of Interest

The Committee of the Regions (CoR) invited expressions of interest from regions, groups of regions and Member States to participate in the CoR-Joint Research Centre (JRC) - European Commission Pilot Action on "Partnerships for Regional Innovation".​​​​

​​​​​​​The call is closed now.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Looking for answers to your doubts? Find bellow the most common questions we get asked about.

More information

(3.4 MB - PDF)
Call for expressions of interest for participation in the Pilot Action on Partnerships for Regional Innovation | PDF file
(206 KB - PDF)


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