The new European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) will dedicate around €110 billion to innovation activities, ICT, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) competitiveness, and the low carbon economy.
Regions have to develop smart specialisation strategies prior to receiving ESIF funding for projects in the area of innovation. This process should allow regions to concentrate their investments on their comparative advantages.
Several industrial priorities identified by the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs attract plenty of attention from regions in their smart specialisation strategies.
The priorities are:
Projects will be funded for close-to-market activities and first production in KETs.
There is a great opportunity to promote smart specialisation, not only prior to the funding of innovation activities, but also as a guiding strategy for public investment and policy making at regional level. The objective is to cooperate with the Directorate-General for Regional Policy and to facilitate cooperation between regional authorities and enterprises, for example by providing in-depth analysis of regional strengths and weaknesses in manufacturing and by setting up online platforms that allow regions and enterprises to exchange information on collaboration opportunities across Europe.
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