Operational Programme 'Thematic Factors of Competitiveness'

Programme under the Convergence Objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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On 11 October 2007, the European Commission approved a Regional Operational Programme for the regions Norte, Centro and Alentejo in Portugal for the 2007-2013 period. The Operational Programme falls within the Convergence Objective framework and has a total budget of around €3.1 billion. Community funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some €2.4 billion, which represents approximately 11.2% of the total EU investment for Portugal under the 2007-2013 Cohesion Policy.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

The central objective of the Operational Programme is to foster sustainable economic growth and to integrate the Portuguese economy into the economies of other EU Member States based on country, regional and enterprise-level competitiveness. Economic growth shall be consistent with principles of sustainability, eco-efficiency and social cohesion.

2. Expected investment impact

Public intervention will be in line with the following strategic objectives:

  • productive sector enhancement
  • international economy orientation
  • public administration improvement
  • knowledge and innovation-based economic development.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme is structured along the following six priorities:

Priority 1: Knowledge and technological development [approximately 16.1% of total funding]

This priority is meant to increase the effort in research and technological development (RTD), to increase the generation of new knowledge in Portugal as well as to foster the involvement of enterprises in RTD and the cooperation between enterprises and centres of knowledge. The implementation of this priority will be carried out through RTD project support developed by enterprises, research centres and education centres specialised in:

  • cooperation
  • creation or promotion of RTD clusters
  • knowledge dissemination; technological innovation.

Priority 2: Innovation and renewal of the enterprise model and the pattern of specialisation [approximately 39.3% of total funding]

This priority seeks to stimulate enterprises to provide for structural adjustments that aim to qualify, to differentiate, to diversify and to innovate tradable goods and services production. More specifically, the priority seeks to promote innovation of business, internationalisation, entrepreneurship qualification strategic large-scale small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) investments and enhancement. Two schemes will implement this priority. The first scheme will aim to strengthen an economy based on knowledge and innovation for all beneficiaries. The second scheme will aim to create and promote clusters of economic development centres based on both geographical and sectoral growth potential.

Priority 3: Financing and risk sharing of innovation [approximately 11.6% of total funding]

The priority relates to financial engineering instruments designed to help enterprises to implement their own consolidation and international business development strategies. Specific objectives include:

  • new enterprises creation
  • enterprises guarantees enlargement
  • micro-credits offers enhancement and improvement
  • innovation financial investment
  • entrepreneurship promotion and female employment-share development.

In the context of this priority the JEREMIE initiative will be used for its special ability to influence the Portuguese financial market.

Priority 4: A performing public administration of high quality [approximately 22.1% of total funding]

This priority seeks to simplify procedures, to harmonise, to restructure, and to improve the functioning of networks and to boost Portuguese public administration information and communication technology (ICT) development. Specific objectives include:

  • increased efficacy and efficiency of administrative activity
  • reduced operator administrative costs
  • increased ITC technologies on-line administration awareness
  • improved citizen and enterprise services quality by training of civil servants.

Priority 5: Networks and collective actions of enterprise development [approximately 8.4% of total funding]

The priority intends to support collective innovative actions or initiatives provided by cooperating enterprises in case these kinds of actions are hindered by market failure or lack of coordination among beneficiaries. To this end, actions of cooperation or assistance that improve the dissemination of reliable information, knowledge, cooperation, and networking will be financed.

Priority 6: Technical assistance [approximately 2.5% of total funding]

Technical assistance will be used to implement the systems and lay the foundations for sound coordination, management, monitoring, control, evaluation and publicity of the Operational Programme.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Thematic Factors of Competitiveness'

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
Knowledge and technological development 500 000 000 273 800 000 773 800 000
Innovation and renewal of the enterprise model and the pattern of specialisation 1 220 000 000 1 540 000 000 2 760 000 000
Financing and risk sharing of innovation 360 000 000 154 285 712 514 285 712
A performing public administration of high quality 685 000 000 293 571 429 978 571 429
Networks and collective actions of enterprise development 260 000 000 111 428 550 371 428 550
Technical assistance 78 789 011 33 766 719 112 555 730
Total 3 103 789 011 2 406 852 410 5 510 641 421