Operational Programme 'Knowledge-based Economy'

Programme under the Convergence and Competitiveness and Employment Objectives, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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On 28 November 2007, the European Commission approved the Multi-regional Operational Programme “Knowledge-based Economy”. The Programme provides Community support in nearly all Spanish regions within the framework of the Convergence and Competitiveness and Employment Objectives.

The Programme’s total budget is approximately €2.1 billion and includes Community investment through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of some €1.5 billion, which represents approximately 6% of the ERDF financial package for Spain under Cohesion Policy 2007-13.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

In the coming years, the EU’s economic and employment policies will be targeted towards achieving the amended Lisbon Strategy objectives. EU Member States have therefore been called on to carry out the reforms they have been committed to within the Lisbon process.

The main strategic objectives of this Programme are to increase investments in Research, Development and Innovation (R&D&I), reshape and strengthen the role of universities, develop central technological infrastructure, improve the transfer of technology and research results and develop the Information Society through content and services.

2. Expected impact of investments

Gross domestic expenditure on Research and Development (R&D) is expected to increase in Spain in the coming years from around 1% to 2.5% of GDP on average. Within this framework, the Programme will support public policies encouraging R&D&I at national, regional and local level, with a particular focus on regions lagging behind the national average for R&D effort. The investments are expected to result in 7761 R&D&I projects, the development of 15 applications and 259 R&D&I centres receiving benefits.

3. Priorities

The global objective of the Programme is to increase Spain’s economic competitiveness by the end of the programming period, bringing the innovation performance of the industry and services sectors closer to the level of the leading industrial EU Member States.

The Operational Programme is structured along the following priorities:

Priority 1: Development of the Knowledge Economy (R&D&I: Information Society and ICTs) [approximately 99.1% of total funding]

The main aims under this priority include boosting Research and Technology Development (R&TD) activities in research centres, improving R&TD infrastructure (physical plant, instrumentation and high-speed computer networks linking research centres), and developing centres of competence in specific technologies. Another aim is to enhance services and applications for citizens, for example, e-health, e-government, e-learning, e-inclusion, etc.

Priority 2: Technical Assistance and Reinforcement of Institutional Capacity [approximately 0.9% of total funding]

This priority will provide support in terms of evaluations, studies, information and communication connected with the Programme. It will also support areas such as preparation, implementation, monitoring and inspection in relation to the Programme and its activities.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Knowledge-based Economy'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

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Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Development of the Knowledge Economy (Information Society and ICTs) 1 450 540 975 621 660 408 2 072 201 383
Technical Assistance and Reinforcement of Institutional Capacity 14 651 946 3 663 004 18 314 950
Total 1 465 192 921 625 323 412 2 090 516 333