Science at the service of Europe

Research Potential

Capacity-building actions help convergence and outermost regions

In the bid to derive maximum benefit from the enlarged European Research Area, dedicated action is aiding isolated and economically weak regions to realise their full research capabilities.

EU funding in 2008
€30.52 million

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Solar furnace

"Assistance to improve research capacity enables disadvantaged regions to increase their contribution to economic and social development."


A shortage of resources and abilities in some regions remote from the central core of research and industrial development is one reason why the EU is not yet able to exploit the full potential of a European Research Area (ERA) that now embraces 27 Member States.

In order to remedy this situation, the Community is taking steps to strengthen research performance in regions that are currently not using their possibilities to the full, or are in need of new knowledge and support. These are the ‘convergence regions’, defined as those having a per capita GDP below 75 % of the EU-25 average, and ‘outermost regions’ such as offshore French territories, the Canaries and Madeira.

The ‘Research Potential’ initiative is a new action created specifically for this purpose. It deploys a coherent set of measures to improve the capacities and capabilities of the best or most promising public and private research centres in the qualifying regions, and encourages the formation of strategic partnerships between them and more experienced institutes elsewhere in the EU.