Mobilising ESIF & H2020 in less developed regions (Analytical work) Mobilising ESIF & H2020 in less developed regions (Analytical work)


Low participation in H2020 is often identified as a problem in less developed regions, due to the resources potentially available and the opportunities missed to engage with scientific and technological networks of global significance. This work seeks to identify determinants of participation in H2020 and thus the most relevant features of innovation systems. Regions that might be expected to perform better in H2020 are identified in order to propose where ESIF funding should be channelled to effectively mobilise ESIF and H2020 to support regional innovation systems.


Work conducted

  • Literature review on the determinants of framework programme (including H2020) participation
  • Examination of EU innovation systems based on R&D expenditures and on funding awarded and planned for H2020 and ESIF respectively, at national and regional levels
  1. Analysis of 200 EU regions in terms of ESIF and H2020 funding, and R&D intensity in order to characterise different types of regions. The EU regions were divided into three main groups according to their R&D intensity and the ESIF allocation and the H2020 funding captured:
    1“Lagging regions” are regions with low R&D intensity and a low ratio of H2020 to ESIF funding. They tend to be concentrated in newer member states and also in Southern Europe.
    2 “Intermediary regions” are regions with a notable R&D intensity but a low ratio of H2020 to ESIF.
    3 “Better-performing regions” are regions with both a notable share of R&D and a high ratio of H2020 to ESIF funding
  • Exploration and discussion on the potential complementarities between ESIF and H2020 at the policy level


Lessons learned

  • Prior participation in the FP, networks and collaboration, organisational characteristics, and importantly, national systems and funding structures all combine to underpin the scientific excellence required for FP/H2020 participation.
  • Obstacles that hinder complementarities between ESIF and H2020 include the absence of long-term planning horizons, the absence of the necessary governance infrastructure, the need for reforms, and the lack of suitable policies for capacity development.
  • A majority of EU13 Member States is characterised by lower R&D intensity, R&D performed to a greater extent in the public sector than businesses and ESIF research and innovation funding as a larger share of GDP than H2020. These MS are also less integrated into the international scientific networks
  • From a regional point of view, Capital regions tend to attract more H2020 funding indicating the importance of co-location for innovation activities
  • "Intermediary regions" are of particular interest to policy and to the S2E project, as their participation in H2020 is below what would be expected by their overall R&D intensity, and therefore policy gains may be most substantial
  • While support for the internationalisation of public research and development of business innovation capabilities would be an import policy focus for such regions precise policy targets would require more regional specific analysis.


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