EU Science Hub

Stairway to Excellence (S2E)

As part of the targeted support activities of the JRC, the Stairway to Excellence (S2E) project is centred on the provision of assistance to the EU Member States and their regions in:

  • (i) developing and exploiting the synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), Horizon 2020 (H2020) and other EU funding programmes and
  • (ii) closing the innovation gap, in order to promote excellence in all regions and EU countries as well as
  • (iii) fostering the effective implementation of national and regional Smart Specialisation Strategies.

The Cohesion Policy and the synergies with the research and development funds: the "Stairway to Excellence (S2E)" is a European Parliament Pilot Project executed by the JRC and DG-REGIO.


Activities of S2E project:

  • 2014-2017: Phases I and II

Phases I and II of the S2E project were initially centred on the provision of assistance to the 13 Member States (EU13) joining the European Union from 2004 onwards.
  • April 2017-June 2018: Phase III

Phase III extended activities to EU28, with particular attention to the engagement of less developed EU28 regions, and a gradual shift in focus on the implementation aspects of synergies between different R&I funding instruments in specific thematic domains.
  • Phase IV started in July 2018 for 24 months:

The key objective is to support enhancement of the value of EU funding sources for research, regional development and innovation in RIS3 implementation, with a strategic focus on assuring preparedness of member states and their regions for the post 2020 programming period in the area of Research and Innovation.

Further information is available on the S2E webpage.