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During the preparation phases of ROP Alentejo 2014-2020 and RIS3 Alentejo, the need of enhancing the transfer of scientific knowledge to the business sector was highlighted.
This measure aims therefore at strengthening the links between firms and RTDI supporting institutions, and increasing business investment in innovation activities (product, process, organisation and marketing).
The activities that can be funded under the measure include:
Companies are the target group of the measure. Entities of the scientific and technological system are also eligible in the framework of consortia led by firms.
The measure provides relevant support to allow innovative businesses to enhance their capabilities for carrying out cutting-edge scientific and technological activities.
It is too early to judge the success of the measure (the results of the first calls for proposals are still not known). However, in the context of a relatively similar measure implemented in the Alentejo region under ROP 2007-2013, 34 projects were funded accounting for a total eligible investment of €11.7m (ERDF contribution of €7.3m). It is expected that the new measure will deserve significantly higher demand by the companies based in Alentejo within the new programming cycle.
There is a need to ensure the implementation of a set of complementary measures in order to guarantee that supported activities could be covered along the whole "supply-chain" (from fundamental research until RTD commercialisation, including funding of more broader innovation related activities).
There must be a strict alignment of the supported activities with the priorities set in the context of the regional smart specialisation strategy (RIS3), so as to better ensure that the funded activities can be competitive on a global scale.
Priority should be given to projects that contribute significantly to address major societal challenges (e.g. climate change, energy or health).
Support for large companies under such type of measures should only be granted if the innovations concerned can be promoted at national or international level.