Stairway to Excellence

The "STAIRWAY TO EXCELLENCE” (S2E) project was launched in 2014 as a European Parliament pilot project executed by DG-JRC together with DG-REGIO, and was implemented until 2020 as part of the JRC's Smart Specialisation targeted support activities.

Stairway to Excellence

S2E aimed at supporting EU Member States and their regions in:
  • (i) developing and exploiting the synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), Horizon 2020 (H2020) and other EU funding programmes;
  • (ii) Assisting them in closing the innovation gap, in order to promote excellence in all regions and EU countries;
  • (ii) Stimulating the effective implementation of national and regional Smart Specialisation Strategies.​​​​​​​​​​​​

Phases I and II

Phases I and II of the S2E project were initially centred on the provision of assistance to the 13 Member States (EU13) who joined the European Union in 2004 and subsequent years.
Selected achievements, events or publications during phases I and II:
  • Overall description  of phases I and II
  • National events
  • Country & Region Information
  • Funding synergies examples
  • Lessons from S2E phases I and II

Phase III

​​​​​​​Phase III extended activities to EU28, with particular attention to the engagement of less developed EU28 regions, and a gradual shift in focus on the implementation aspects of synergies between different R&I funding instruments in specific thematic domains.

Phase IV

Phase IV started on July 2018 for 24 months, and was extended until the end of 2020. The key objective was to support enhancement of the value of EU funding sources for research, regional development and innovation in RIS3 implementation, with a strategic focus on assuring preparedness of MS/regions for the post 2020 programming period in the area of Research and Innovation

Selected achievements, events or publications during phases III and IV:
  • Overall description of phases III and IV
  • Mobilising ESIF and H2020 to support innovation in less developed regions
  • Governance of universities and their involvement in S3  
  • Smarter Europe – Smarter Funding?
  • Funding scenarios for effective S3 implementation
  • Working Group "H2020 for RIS3 "
  • Multi-level S3 governance and synergies
  • Collaboration between Managing Authorities and Joint Undertakings
  • International project development lab s
  • EIT KICs in a RIS3 context

Joint Statements

The Joint Statements appear for each Member State in each National Event page.

Latest news

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An intervention-logic approach for the design and implementation of S3 strategies

The report invites policy makers to address the questions about the ‘why’ (is the intervention addressing a problem?), the ‘who’ (what is the target of the intervention?), and the ‘how’ (do I have financial and administrative resources?). Starting from a pre-existing Smart Specialisation...

Doussineau M., Saublens C., Harrap N
Joint Undertakings analysis of collaboration mechanisms with ESI Funds in a S3 context

This report investigates in particular the motivations and practices for strengthening collaborations between Joint Undertakings (JUs) (focusing on non-territorial innovation) and national and regional ESI Funds’ managing authorities (focusing on territorial innovation) and offers guidance to...

An analytical framework to assess the governance of universities and their involvement in Smart Specialisation Strategies

The current report proposes an analytical framework for university governance allowing the comparison and benchmarking of governance systems across EU member states, which could serve as guidance for university managers and policy makers to design the institutional incentives and funding...

Arregui-Pabollet, Eskarne; Doussineau, Mathieu; Dettenhofer, Markus
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