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The DGO6 is one of the seven operational directorates (DGO) of the Walloon Public Service. It was established in 2008, as the two existing departments (Directorate General for Technologies Research and Energy and the Directorate General for Economy and Employment) of the Walloon administration were brought together and re-organised into one single entity.
The DGO6 is the key policy-design and implementing body for regional research and innovation policy. Its mission is to implement and monitor the aid granted in the field of economic policy - including the support granted within the framework of EU programmes- and to encourage the development of enterprises, especially SMEs. It also supports the Walloon actors in business networks or clusters.
In the field of research and technological development, the DGO6 provides administrative support for the accreditation of research centres and implements a series of programmes, partly in cooperation with the Agency for Enterprise en Innovation (AEI).
Since July 2008 and the adoption of the regional decree implementing the rules of the European framework for State Aid for research, development and innovation, the Walloon region can allocate funds to four broad categories of actors in the field of R&D support:
The funds are allocated via a number of different programmes targeting these actors. As a general rule, industrial research projects are funded by grants, while experimental development projects are funded by reimbursable loans.
In the field of industrial policy, a set of aids dedicated to SMEs are available to help enterprises define their innovation strategy, study the feasibility of their project on a technical and/or commercial field or register a patent. The DGO6 also provides supports for SMEs by helping them to benefit from accredited consultant services, implement quality management or begin an e-business.
The DGO6 also provides support to clusters and co-ordinates the competitiveness poles support measure. It also collaborates with the Economic Stimulation Agency (ASE) and the Walloon SME financing agency (Sowalfin) to offer companies a coherent set of support services. It also provides support for science promotion activities.
In 2014, in order to prepare the new ERDF programming period, the DGO6 has produced several contributions designed to define industrial priorities for Wallonia. Most notably, a smart specialisation strategy has been proposed. The Economic Policy Department was also deeply involved in the smart specialisation platform specifically dedicated to advanced manufacturing, as well as into one of the three pilot actions which were initiated in this framework in line with additive technologies and 3D printing. This pilot aims at setting up a European network designed to illustrate the practices, together with the competitiveness hub Mecatech and SIRRIS research center.