Call for expressions of interest to participate in the joint Committee of the Regions- Joint Research Centre European Commission Pilot Action on"Partnerships for Regional Innovation" (PRI)

The Committee of the Regions (CoR) is inviting 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".

Call for Expression of Interest - PRI

The Partnerships for Regional Innovation are a complementary approach, which builds on positive experiences with smart specialisation strategies. The ambition is to test tools for a stronger directionality towards the twin transition, with economic, social and environmental sustainability, including at local level and in rural areas. It will also elaborate a platform facilitating EU-wide networks of networks.  

The Pilot does not imply that the regions revise their strategies. It is complementary to strengthen synergies and the impact of innovation, including the development and diffusion of deep-tech technologies for solutions to sustainability challenges for all territories.

The Partnerships for Regional Innovation - PRI Pilot Action

The Pilot Action will involve up to 24 European territories (regions, groups of regions or EU Member States) who:
  1. ​​​​​​​ share a strong ambition to transform their economies and societies and
  2.  are willing to explore renewed partnerships for Regional Innovation - PRI in the design and implementation of their own strategic policy framework dealing with innovation, industrial development, sustainability transitions and socio-economic development (e.g. their smart specialisation strategies).

PRI aims to enhance the coordination and directionality of regional, national and EU R&I 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.

Particular attention will be placed on tools and governance mechanisms that mobilise multiple sources of funding and policies to amplify impact, and that can help connect regional and national initiatives to EU initiatives for the twin transition. More information is available below.

The main reference document underpinning the Partnerships for Regional Innovation - PRI Pilot Action will be the forthcoming "PRI Playbook", currently being developed by the JRC-European Commission with the support of a Scientific Committee of recognised experts. The initial edition of the PRI Playbook (forthcoming, May 2022) will showcase 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. As a result, the PRI Playbook will be further developed and improved to offer operational guidance in an accessible and modular format, including a user-friendly online version. 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.

The Pilot seeks to enhance synergies across EU investment programmes (e.g. Next GenerationEU, Structural Funds, Horizon Europe) and EU instruments, including the European missions (e.g. for transformative climate adaptation).

Elegibility criteria and how to apply

European regions, groups of regions and Member States are invited to express their interest in participating in the CoR-JRC pilot to test elements of the PRI approach. Joint applications from groups of regions across Member States or from multiple-levels of government in the same Member State or region (e.g. one or more regions and one or more national ministries) united by common economic or societal challenges are also welcome.

Applicants must demonstrate a high level of commitment to participate in the Pilot Action. Interested territories are invited to send a maximum ten-page PRI background report identifying local challenges they hope to address through PRI and documenting relevant experience and challenges in their administration(s), to

The application should also include a statement of support from a high-ranking elected official (e.g. the governor of a region or a relevant minister) assuring that the participating authority will count with a strong mandate, including at political level, to explore new approaches and work across silos in government in line with the ambition of  PRI.

The chosen territories will be announced in May 2022. Regional and Member States participating to the Pilot will not be expected to modify their innovation strategies or S3 strategies in the context of the pilot. More details available below.

Selection of participants to the Pilot Action

The CoR, in close collaboration with the European Commission, will prioritise applications from places that stand to offer the most useful lessons for transformative innovation. These include territories that have already experience working across policy portfolios and levels of governance, experience with mobilising several funds for the same objectives in their strategy (e.g. through local missions)  or which have experimented with novel approaches (of any kind) that have resulted in measurably high impact and are potentially of European relevance (e.g. for other territories with similar features).

The CoR and the European Commission may also consider favourably applications from territories that have not yet introduced elements of transformative innovation but have a strong ambition to do so. Preference will be given to territories that have made strides in evidence-based policy making as demonstrated by the completion of relevant impact assessments (or other evidence-based studies) and their systematic influence in shaping follow up strategies/policies.

In all cases, territories must have a dedicated governance structure for smart specialisation (or similar) and staff who would be ready to assume additional responsibility in engaging in the pilot. In selecting the territories chosen to participate in the pilot, the CoR and the European Commission will consider Europe's geographic diversity, always keeping in mind the overall purpose of the pilot.

Key dates

  • 15 March 2022 – Call opens
  • 25 April 2022 – Call closes
  • End of April / early May 2022– Selected participants are announced
  • May 2022 – draft PRI Playbook published ahead of the PRI Pilot launch event on 17 May
  • November/ December 2022 - Presentation of the status of the PRI to Members of the CoR and other stakeholders
  • June 2023 – PRI Pilot ends and Revised PRI Playbook presented to all interested EU regions, Member States and stakeholders

The Background report

What is a PRI background report?

At the time of submitting their expression of interest to join the PRI Pilot, as part of their candidacy, territories will include a 10-page background report, (i) taking stock of the state of play of their S3 and other strategies for sustainability and socio-economic development, and (ii) offering proposals for the development and expected contributions of PRI.

Who in is charge of producing the PRI report?

The PRI background report will be produced by the relevant authorities interested to participate to the PRI Pilot and submitted to the Committee of the Regions by the closing date for expressions of interest.

Minimum Content of the PRI background report

  • A brief history of regional (and/or, where appropriate, national) policy efforts towards innovation-driven economic, social and environmental sustainability (including digitalisation).
  • State of play of their Smart Specialisation Strategy 2021-2027
  • A table with the territory’s SWOTs (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) for economic transformation in line with the European Green Deal, justified/documented with the inclusion of appropriate evidence and references;
  • A list of key stakeholders beginning with relevant actors
    • In wider government (across levels of government and ministerial portfolios)
    • Key producers of goods, services and knowledge (e.g. the top 10 at the region and top 10 at the Member State level);
    • Distinction between regional/domestic markets of relevance to the transition and export markets).
  • A proposal for aspects of strategy development and/or implementation that would especially benefit from interregional or international learning.
  • Willingness to organise a limited number of workshops involving participants to the PRI Pilot

The background report will help the JRC and the CoR tailor their efforts to actual needs and would be a key input to the deliberations regarding the choice of appropriate support tools for the development of PRI in the territories.

More information

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

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