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New call for EoI for COVID-19 Response and Recovery Partnerships

Coronavirus: Commission launches call for innovative response and recovery partnerships between EU regions

Virtual International Partnering – Innovation in Environment & Energy & Circular Economy

International cross-border contacts are more important than ever before. With this long-term virtual Matchmaking open until 31/12/2020, EEN...

Launch of the open public consultation on the Renovation Wave initiative

The online public consultation on boosting the renovation of buildings across the EU is open until July 9.
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Smart Pilot actions: DG REGIO gives support to interregional partnerships for innovative projects

Brussels, 7 December 2017. More info here.

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TAIEX REGIO PEER 2 PEER - A tool bringing together Cohesion Policy practitioners

Designed to share expertise between bodies managing Cohesion Fund and ERDF funding, it helps public officials to exchange knowledge, good practice and practical solutions to concrete problems thus improving their administrative capacity and ensuring better results for the EU investments.

More info here.



Energy Energy


1) You can find here all the presentations done during the workshop "Smart grids in the new programming period: the role of transnational R&I networks to strengthen smart energy",  of 2020 February 6, organised jointly with the Stairway to Excellence (S2E) team.

2) All the information on the workshop "Implementing Smart Specialisation in Energy through Innovation Procurement", held on the 9th of October 2019, during the European Week of Regions and Cities 2019 in Brussels is available on our event website.

3) Check here all the info on the Learning Lab on "Supporting the effective uptake of Cohesion Policy funds in energy - S3 as a tool to enhance innovation capabilities in EU13", organised jointly by the Stairway to Excellence (S2E) and the S3PEnergy teams, on the 3rd and 4th of July 2019, in Budapest. The objective of the Learning Lab was to improve the governance models in EU13 in view of optimising the spending of the EU funds in sustainable and innovative energy solutions and addressing societal challenges such as the clean energy transition, and also to reinforce the participation of the EU13 regions in the S3PEnergy transnational activities.

Energy and the Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy (S3PEnergy)

Energy is a topic with high interest amongst the Member States and regions registered in the S3 Platform. These strategies set priorities at national and regional levels to build competitive advantage by developing and matching research and innovation (R&I) own strengths with business needs, to address emerging opportunities and market developments in a coherent manner, while avoiding duplication and fragmentation of efforts. They may take the form of, or are included in, a national or a regional R&I strategic policy framework. In this context, there is an emerging need to align innovation roadmaps across EU policies and territories. There is also an upcoming challenge in accompanying the implementation of innovation strategies with the appropriate methodological development and related tools, with regard namely to benchmarking, trans-national cooperation and mutual learning.


The Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy (S3PEnergy) is the space where MS, regions and community members receive support for the optimal and effective uptake of Cohesion Funds for sustainable energy.

What is the S3PEnergy about?

The main objectives of the S3PEnergy are:
  1. to support the implementation of the smart specialisation strategies of those regions/countries that have chosen energy-related priorities in their S3 (under Thematic Objective 1), in particular as regards energy innovation activities at (sub)national, regional and local levels.
  2. to assist countries in the uptake of the Cohesion Policy funding opportunities for energy (under TO 4 and 7e);

The S3PEnergy will contribute the EU energy policy priorities by facilitating partnerships between EU regions that have identified renewable energy technologies and innovative energy solutions as their smart specialisation priorities and by promoting alignment between local, regional, national and European activities on energy sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply.

The S3PEnergy is addressing energy issues as part of the European efforts to achieve a shared vision on knowledge-based energy policy in regions and to encourage the financing of viable investments in Europe in line with the EU's Energy Union strategy and the EU Plan in strategic investments in jobs and growth, the latter to be realised through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). Numerous activities foreseen in the EU's Energy Union five dimensions including a fully-integrated internal energy market, supply security, energy efficiency, emissions' reduction and research and innovation in low-carbon technologies need to be put in practice at local or regional level. Despite these activities rely on local potential they need to be also consistent with EU broad energy policy objectives; therefore the S3PEnergy will step-in to assure the developments in a coherent manner.

The ultimate objective of the S3PEnergy is to contribute to the shift towards a low carbon economy by 2050 and to respond to some of the societal challenges identified in the EU 2020 Strategy. The EU has set out plans for a new climate and energy policy framework. Europe is determined to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % by 2030 compared to 1990. Respectively, it has committed itself to achieve at least 27 % share of renewables. Hence, there is a clear link between innovation and the EU's energy and climate targets.

Who is involved in S3PEnergy?

The activities are being carried out by JRC (Directorates B in Seville and C in Petten), in close collaboration with DG REGIO and DG ENER.

The S3PEnergy supports policy-makers, authorities and stakeholders involved in energy and R&I policies and Cohesion Policy funding.

The work further allow DGs JRC, REGIO and ENER to be better informed of the developments and challenges in the MS and regions.

Which activities are promoted by the S3PEnergy?

The S3PEnergy collaborates with interested EU regions and countries to: analyse current energy priorities and policies; identify common challenges and possible solutions; support bottom-up transregional cooperation and the creation of EU-wide ecosystems for R&I in energy; prepare thematic papers and workshops; carry out active outreach activities to build and disseminate knowledge on the possibilities for investing in energy projects from the Cohesion Policy funds; etc.

The ultimate goal is to set up a collaborative framework which will accelerate the development and deployment of innovative low carbon technologies in the EU in the framework of Smart Specialisation.


The S3PEnergy supports the regional stakeholders in strengthening their capacity to deliver smart specialisation in Energy, both in and between regions.

Good efforts have been made in recent years in building a large number of interregional partnerships, with the ultimate goal to establish European ecosystems for interregional collaboration in regions and countries that share similar energy priorities in their S3.

Interregional collaboration helps these regions to combine complementary strengths and research capacities, align R&I efforts and agendas in the context of S3, overcome the lack of critical mass and fragmentation, gain better access to the global value chains and foster co-investment in new growth areas across the EU.

The S3PEnergy interregional partnerships have been focusing in mapping regional ambitions and challenges and matching identified value chains of partners across the regions, based on complementarities. The S3PEnergy team supports the regions with the identification of common interests and proactive match-making, methodological guidance, organisation of thematic seminars, setting up of connections with other initiatives or EC services related to their field of activity, as well as with logistic support for the functioning of the partnerships.

Energy in Cohesion Policy

The S3PEnergy is addressing energy issues as part of the European efforts to achieve a shared vision on knowledge-based energy policy in regions. Activities initiated at local or regional level should be developed in a more coherent manner: although they rely on local potential, they have to be also consistent with EU broad energy policy objectives. The goal is to better align local and regional activities through the identification of the technologies and innovative solutions that contribute to the EU energy policy priorities. These priorities include sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply.

Funding Opportunities

During the programming period 2014–2020, EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) play an essential role in promoting innovation in the field of energy, developing ICT applications in the field of energy, supporting SMEs and boosting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors. Around € 40 billion will be allocated by the Cohesion Policy funds (ERDF, ESF and CF) to these objectives in the energy field (TO4). They include interventions in energy efficiency, renewable energy, smart distribution grids and sustainable urban mobility, as well as R&I in these areas, in complementarity with Horizon 2020.

Cohesion Policy is thus making an increasingly important contribution towards EU challenges for clean, efficient and secure supply of energy. The allocated amounts for low-carbon economy represent more than a doubling of funding compared to the previous programming period. Although Cohesion Policy funds will offer significant opportunities, their substantial extension will also represent an important challenge in terms of the readiness in the Member States and regions for their uptake. The absorption capacity of regions will become an issue. Moreover, the combination of Cohesion Policy funds with research financing, like Horizon 2020, will require learning and creative thinking. Finally, it is important to make sure that EU funding will leverage additional national public and private co-financing.

Energy Union

European Energy Union will ensure secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy for citizens and businesses. Using energy more wisely and fighting climate change is not only an investment in our children's future, it will also create new jobs and growth. Important groundwork has already been done: we have a policy framework for energy and climate for 2030, an energy security strategy is in place, and an integrated energy market for all EU countries is closer than ever before.

Further information:



National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs)

According to the governance of the energy union and climate action rules (Dec. 2018), EU countries are required to develop integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) that cover the five dimensions of the energy union for 2021-2030 (and every subsequent ten year period), and report on the progress they make in implementing their NECPs, mostly on a biennial basis.

The new governance rules underline the importance of effective public participation and regional cooperation in the development and implementation of these NECPs, ensuring that the views of citizens and businesses as well as regional and local authorities are heard.

The Commission analysed all the draft NECPs and published a Communication assessing the 28 draft NECPs as a whole, together with specific recommendations and a detailed "Staff Working Document" for each country. Member States have until the end of 2019 to submit their final NECP. 

More info:

Events Events

EWRC 2020: The role of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) in the post-COVID19 era

In the middle of a new economic crisis due to the recent COVID19 pandemic SMEs in the EU are more than ever in need to apply advanced digital technologies...

S3 Geothermal partnership webinar: "An introduction to HotScot"

The webinar entitled “An introduction to HotScot” will highlight the role that minewater geothermal could play in Scotland’s decarbonisation plan.

Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy –Opportunities for cooperation and future development trends for the next programming period

The S3PEnergy will present its activities and the S3 Thematic Platforms' concept during one of the webinars of the Virtual International Partnering on...
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Publications Publications

Leadership Impact on Motivation and Commitment in Interregional Collaboration

Fatime Barbara Hegyi, Laszlo Borbely and Gabor Bekesi

Overview of activities performed in the heating and cooling initiative of the smart specialisation platform for energy

Technical Report CARLSSON Johan; JIMENEZ NAVARRO Navarro Juan Pablo; BERTOLDI Paolo; SEIGNEUR Isabelle

Identification of EU funding sources for the regional heating and cooling sector

External study report made for the Joint Research Centre Veen, Roel van der; Kooijman, Esmee
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