To establish and consolidate their activities, the S3 thematic interregional partnerships established under the Thematic Platforms can take advantage from a number of EU support actions along each phases of their development
Preparatory steps for setting up a Thematic Area
The Smart Specialisation (S3) Platform managed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre aims to facilitate an open process for interregional collaboration on business-driven investments, for agreed innovation themes within a number of strategic thematic areas including Industrial Modernisation. The specific role of the S3 Platform is to provide direct assistance to EU regions to initiate interregional partnerships as well as to structure the subsequent process.
The S3 Platform offers direct analytical and technical support for the pre-selection of the regions, organises Calls for Expressions of Interest, guides through the development of a work phases and provides dedicated consulting support to each partnership throughout its operation. The support also includes the development of mapping and other intelligence methodologies and tools to be made available to the regions and more general to the community of policy makers. Due to its extensive expertise in the area of transnational and interregional mutual learning, the S3 Platform promotes exchange of information between regional authorities and regional actors (including clusters, businesses, and academia) by helping these develop new value chains through collaboration, matchmaking and joint investment.
Mapping of competences and matching of business opportunities
The new Advanced Technologies for Industry Website merges the previous KETs Observatory and Digital Transformation Monitor initiatives. It focuses on the advanced technologies that will enable and help industries to successfully manage a shift towards a low-carbon and knowledge-based economy.
INTERREG Europe supports cooperation and learning among policy-makers at national and regional levels to develop joint agendas, prepare and coordinate ERDF projects (under national and regional operational programmes), allows to carry out studies, gather information, organise events, etc. in order to improve the performance of regional development policy instruments and implementation.
The Knowledge Exchange Platform (KEP) is a co-operation between the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Commission's DG for Research and Innovation (DG RTD). Its main objective is to present new solutions, innovative products and best practices in response to the numerous societal challenges facing local and regional authorities (LRAs) in Europe today.
Four potential areas of cooperation and knowledge exchange have mutually been identified by the DG RTD and the CoR: Bioeconomy; Key Enabling Technologies; Energy; Public Sector Innovation. The KEP can bring into the platform the Committee of the regions member that have signalled to be interested in re-industrialisation of their cities and regions.
TAIEX Regio peer-2-peer is a tool designed to share expertise between bodies that manage funding under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund. It helps public officials involved in the management of these funds to exchange knowledge, good practice and practical solutions to concrete problems thus improving their administrative capacity and ensuring better results for the EU investments. Only Public institutions involved in the management of the ERDF or Cohesion Fund can request support for expert missions, study visits and single or multi-country workshops.
Cooperation in innovation and design of projects
Horizon Europe is the EU’s research and innovation framework programme running from 2021-2027. The EU institutions reached a political agreement on Horizon Europe on 11 December 2020 and set the budget for Horizon Europe at €95.5 billion in current prices (including €5.4 billion from the Next Generation of the EU – Recovery Fund). On this basis, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU proceed towards the adoption of the legal acts.
The first Horizon Europe Strategic Plan (2021-2024) which sets out key strategic orientations for the support of research and innovation, was adopted on 15 March 2021. The work programme for the European Research Council (ERC) was adopted on 22 February 2021. The work programme for the European Innovation Council (EIC) and the main work programme dedicated to COVID-19 variants will be adopted in March; the complete main work programme is expected to be adopted in April.
The first calls will open following the adoption of the work programme each time.
The European Cluster Collaboration Platform is the European hub facilitating cluster cooperation within and beyond the EU. The Platform provides networking support for over 500 cluster organisations and their members aiming to increase their competitiveness through the stimulation of trans-national and international cooperation. It offers unique services to map and profile themselves, exchange experience and search for potential partners across Europe and increasingly worldwide – either by sectors, emerging industries, technologies or smart specialisation (S3) priority areas.
The Platform promotes international cooperation through updated information on the cluster landscape in strategic third countries and organise international cluster matchmaking events bringing delegations of European clusters to meet peers from third countries and initiate cooperation for the benefit of their SMEs in the context of major international trade fairs.
This action will pilot the implementation of European Strategic Cluster Partnerships for smart specialisation investments in the context of the S3P-Industry. A call for proposals with a budget of 2.8 million Euro will be published in the first half of 2017 to support at least eight Partnerships.
It aims to boost the collaboration of enterprises, notably SMEs, across regions towards generating joint actions and investment projects in common thematic priority areas linked to industrial modernisation and help to improve their business environment. A call for expression of interest has already been published under the European Cluster Collaboration Platform to facilitate the partnering of cluster organisations and shape such Partnerships.
The Digitising European Industry Strategy aims to ensure that any business in Europe should have access to a Digital Innovation Hub at ‘a working distance’ (i.e. within a form and location convenient for their day-to-day business). Digital Innovation Hubs can be instrumental for industrial modernisation. If they already exist within a region, they can be seen as a support service for the S3P-Industry. However, if they do not exist they could be the intended outcome of the investment project.
A Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) helps companies become more competitive by improving their business/production processes as well as products (and services) by means of digital technology. DIHs achieve this by offering services to the companies based on the expertise and facilities related to certain technologies (e.g. robotics, photonics, High Performance Computing, Data analysis, Simulation, Internet of Things, Cyber Physical Systems, Cybersecurity, 5G…) or a combination thereof and offer companies possibilities to test and experiment with these technologies, or to manufacture innovative products, also exploiting leading edge scientific and technological advances. They act as broker between user companies with certain needs and technology suppliers that can address these needs, respecting the intellectual property of the participating companies in the innovation experiments. Apart from a focus on technologies, a DIH may be focusing as well on certain sectors, for instance on agriculture, textile, construction, etc.
The EIC pilot supports top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and scientists with bright ideas and the ambition to scale up internationally. It brings together the parts of Horizon 2020 that provide funding, advice and networking opportunities for those at cutting edge of innovation.The EIC pilot aims to support top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and researchers with bright ideas and the ambition to scale-up internationally. The EIC pilot supports ideas from any area of technology or business sector, including novel combinations of technologies and business models. Support is available from feasibility to development to scale-up stages.
I4MS is an initiative in the context of the H2020 programme "Factories of the Future". Through a call for proposals several Digital Innovation Hubs have been set up. These hubs are launching smaller call for innovation experiments where a value chain of SMEs can work together to master test out new digital technologies for improving their production processes or business processes. Call for experiments may be found on http://www.i4ms.eu.
In addition, an online map of EU technology centres sharing their equipment and expertise in key enabling technologies with companies is publicly available and can be used by (1) Public authorities and national or regional innovation support services to SMEs and clusters, to get an overview of the technology centres and expertise available to SMEs, (2) SMEs, to find the right contact person for getting technology services and expertise anywhere in Europe and (3) Technology centres, to promote their expertise and service offer and explore opportunities to collaborate with other centres.
The European Pilot Production Network (EPPN) is being established as coordination platform in the area of nanotechnology and advanced materials upscaling and pilot actions. EPPN will help exploiting on the synergies and maximising the impact of the various investments into innovation from H2020, starting with the "Pilot project" investments of the NMBP programme, but with the aim to reach further.
The aim of the European Pilot Production Network (EPPN) is to provide infrastructure and advisory services to industry, with access for SME's and start-ups under favourable (subsidised) conditions, hereby boosting investments, maximising the impact of the ongoing upscaling activities and facilitating market access.
EPPN activities are planned to include mapping current pilot line projects, identifying specific needs and coordinating joint actions in a number of areas addressing finance, market, training, technical collaboration, dissemination and Policy. The EPPN activities will provide practical examples of relevance for implementing the S3 philosophy. EPPN will especially help on the creation of regional Innovation Hubs and their value-chain and cross-border networking.
The European Commission initiated the establishment of a European Advanced Manufacturing Support Centre to help SMEs assess the possibility of adopting both advanced manufacturing solutions as well as social innovation strategies thereby transforming their organization towards next-generation factories with more competitive, modern and sustainable production.
Business Plan and Funding mix
Technical assistance budgets are available to help stakeholders implement ERDF-funded programmes and projects. Each ERDF Managing Authority has such technical assistance budgets to pay for preparation, management, evaluation, monitoring, audit and control or ERDF projects.
Further information can be obtained by contacting the relevant ERDF Managing Authority. http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/atlas/managing-authorities/
The Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) support scheme provides free-of-charge expert advice to eligible investment projects generated through the Smart Specialisation Platform for Industrial Modernisation (S3P-Industry).
The European IPR Helpdesk is a project funded by the European Commission under the current Horizon 2020 programme that supports cross-border SME and research activities to manage, disseminate and valorise technologies and other Intellectual Property (IP) Rights and IP assets at an EU level.
Offering a broad range of informative material, a Helpline service for direct IP support and on-site and online training, the European IPR Helpdesk's main goal is to support IP capacity building along the full scale of IP practices: from awareness to strategic use and successful exploitation. This strengthening of IP competencies focuses on EU SMEs, participants and candidates in EU-funded projects, and EU innovation stakeholders for an increased translation of IP into the EU innovation ecosystem.
The European Investment Advisory Hub is Europe’s gateway to investment support. A joint initiative by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank under the Investment Plan for Europe, the Hub offers a single access point to a 360 degree offer of advisory and technical assistance services with the aim of strengthening Europe's investment and business environment.
Check the case study briefs from previous S3P-Industry projects supported by TAF
Four projects were awarded support by TAF in the application round of April.
The Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) team invites you to their webinars on how to improve aspects of TAF application.
TAF webinar on Interregional Innovation Investment (I3) funding instrument
TAF Talks 2.0: New sessions and formats
TAF Talk Series: Capacity building workshop on financials and links between clusters and interregional projects