Innovation and industrial transition are almost obvious topics on the agenda for all levels of authorities. AER, as a network of regions, has shaped those categories in different ways. AER regions were active on energy transition and circular economy since a long time now as e-health and active ageing.
The European Commission is fully engaged in supporting regions to build resilient economies. The way adopted is that of smart specialisation, introduced in all regional policy programmes since 2014. The aim is to improve the way regions design, adopt and implement regional innovation strategies in close coordination with local businesses and researchers.
The two calls for expression of interest for pilot projects will support all the five steps of the smart specialisation process: embracing innovation, digitalisation and decarbonisation, more people with more skills and making an easy way for investments.
Call 1: Tailored support for regions facing industrial transition
Some regions have been bearing the costs of globalisation without yet reaping its benefits. Often they suffered substantial job losses and can suffer from a lack of appropriate skills, high labour costs and deindustrialisation.
This call especially targets “transition” and “more-developed” regions. “Transition” regions have a GDP between 75% and 90% of the EU average. The “more-developed” regions’ GDP per head are over 90% of the EU average.
Five regions will be shortlisted. Depending on the level of interest, the Commission may repeat the call to shortlist Five more regions, with a new and similar budget.
Once selected, the call gives access to different services:
1) Tailored assistance from Commission experts from several Commission departments. They will help regions draw up regional economic transformation strategies. Depending on specific regional needs and assets, the Commission will hire external experts to support the work of the regions. The budget for each selected region is € 200.000,00 for this action.
2) Additional support from the European observatory for clusters and industrial change to help regions build cluster policies and link better local firms, research centres and academia.
3) The support the early implementation of the regional economic transformation strategies with specific funding.
Call 2: Interregional partnerships to develop competitive European value chains
This second call focuses on the commercialisation and scaling-up “bankable” interregional projects in priority sectors such as big data, bioeconomy, resource efficiency, connected mobility, health and active ageing or cybersecurity.
For this second call, five to ten selected partnerships will benefit from tailored support by special teams established within the Commission, involving experts from several thematic departments and external experts.
A total of €1 million from the ERDF will support the development of these partnerships.
Both calls have the same deadline. Regions interested in those calls have to send the application by the 31st October 2017.
If your region is interested to have more information or to prepare the application, the AER Project Team can support you. Please, be in contact with Mr. Luca Magri at his email address [email protected] , or call the AER secretariat at the +32 (0)2 400 10 53.