Operational Programme 'Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur'

Programme co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective


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On 19 November 2007 the European Commission approved an Operational Programme for the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur (PACA) for the period 2007-2013.

This Operational Programme comes under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective. It has a total budget of about 1.1 billion euros. The financing by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some 302 million euros, representing about 2.1% of Community aid to France as part of the cohesion policy for 2007-2013.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The programme was devised with the idea of contributing proactively to the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy with regard to economic competitiveness and employment by providing significant support to intervention capacity for research and technology transfer and by targeting interventions geared to innovation and the information society, while at the same time focusing particular attention on the environment and sustainable development.

Innovation, information and communication technologies (ICT) and energy are thus the main themes of this programme, which targets as a matter of priority small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

2. Expected impact of the investment

The quantitative objectives of the Operational Programme are primarily to:

  • attain an intensity target of 3% for R&D;
  • reduce the digital divide at the level of economic agents;
  • cut regional greenhouse gas emissions by 3%;
  • reduce final energy intensity by 2% by 2015;
  • increase the employment rate of women to 60%.

3. Priorities

The draft proposal for a Commission Decision adopting the Operational Programme for Community financing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective for the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur is the result of discussions and negotiations between the Commission and France.

The strategy of the Operational Programme is based on:

  • regional issues highlighted by an identification and analysis of the region’s potential;
  • strategic Community guidelines and the Community and national strategic framework defining the principles for the allocation of Community funding.

The detailed description of the strategic priorities indicates that the share of Community funding devoted to the Lisbon priorities is about 70.8% for the ERDF and about 84.83% for both the ERDF and the European Social Fund (ESF).

The Operational Programme is centred on five priorities and a technical assistance priority.

Priority 1: Promoting innovation and the knowledge-based economy [about 28.7% of total investment]

The economic development of the PACA region requires greater activity in the fields of research, development and technological innovation. Cooperation between research and industry must be encouraged and supported.

The call for projects on pôles de compétitivité (competitive clusters) revealed communities featuring training centres, public research centres and businesses grouped around common topics or projects. The Operational Programme will endeavour to reinforce this pattern. Individual innovation projects for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and very small enterprises (VSEs) will also be encouraged.

The PACA region has a comprehensive system for development, technology transfer and innovation support. This regional innovation support network must be made consistent throughout the region. This is a decisive factor in disseminating innovation to SMEs and creating technological start-up enterprises. The State and the region have pledged as part of the project contracts to encourage the finalisation of a regional innovation network project called "PACA Innovation", based on an operational strategy and regional governance for innovation with mobilisation of financial resources for network governance and partner structures.

The first priority of the Operational Programme thus specifically aims to:

  • boost research resources for the benefit of the economy;
  • strengthen networking and partnership platforms;
  • develop major strategic R&D projects;
  • support SME and VSE innovation projects with potential, and more specifically: support SMEs' individual innovation projects;
  • boost human resources for research and innovation;
  • foster facilities for innovative enterprises;
  • organise and develop the regional innovation network.

Priority 2: Developing businesses and the information society for regional competitiveness [about 21.9% of total investment]

Regional competitiveness depends on strengthening the capacity for innovation. The PACA region has tremendous potential in this area. The first two priorities will thus aim to encourage innovation by boosting cooperation among those involved by introducing a regional innovation strategy.

Priority 3: Sustainable management of resources and risk prevention [about 27.6% of total investment]

Other features of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region are its cultural and scenic assets, its quality of life and its particular juxtaposition of mountain and sea. In the face of the challenge posed by climate change, environmental protection is vital for the development of its appeal and competitiveness.

On the basis of these assets, the PACA region has opted to put innovation and sustainable development at the core of its regional development.

Priority 4: New urban and rural approaches for innovation, employment, territorial solidarity and accessibility [about 10% of total investment]

Two types of territory – sensitive urban districts and rural areas – have to cope with economic, social and environmental risks. They must therefore be accorded special attention. The urban sub-priority is entirely in line with the URBAN initiative.

Priority 5: Developing means of transport as an alternative to road transport for private individuals and economic activities [about 10% of total investment]

The aim is to develop multimodal transport (shifting road freight to rail and river transport) and to support a project for easing road traffic by switching this kind of traffic to local rail services for commuter travel.

Priority 6: Technical assistance [about 1.9% of total investment]

Technical assistance is a tool which is available to institutions responsible for implementing and monitoring operational programmes and which aims to improve the quality and consistency of actions and to ensure the best possible use of European funding.

The Technical Assistance priority of the Operational Programme for the PACA region will thus provide support for the implementation and monitoring of the programme and projects with a view to ensuring the proper use of the Community funds.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Promouvoir l'innovation et l'économie de la connaissance 103 000 000 107 000 000 210 000 000
Developing businesses and the information society to improve regional competitiveness 62 000 000 83 500 000 145 500 000
Sustainable management of resources and risk prevention 63 000 000 189 100 000 252 100 000
New urban and rural approaches for innovation, employment, territorial solidarity and accessibility 41 000 000 69 000 000 110 000 000
Developing means of transport as an alternative to road transport for private individuals and economic activities 23 000 000 75 000 000 98 000 000
Technical assistance 10 234 812 10 234 812 20 469 624
Total 302 234 812 533 834 812 836 069 624