Public consultation on Interregional Innovation Investment supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The purpose of the consultation process is to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to express their views on the future Interregional Innovation Investment (I3) initiative.

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Policy field

Cohesion Policy, Digital Policy, Industry Policy, Research and innovation policy and related policies (including digital single market, agriculture, space, circular economy, energy union, growth and investment plan, internal market, etc).


The 2021-2027 period will seek to reinforce interregional cooperation for innovation as outlined in the Commission Communication “Strengthening Innovation in Europe’s regions”.
In this context, the Commission proposed a new Interregional Innovation Investment initiative aimed at helping actors involved in smart specialisation strategies (S3) to cluster together, scale up and bring innovation to the European market.
The new I3 Instrument should be implemented under ERDF with an indicative EU budget of EUR 0,5 bn. The ambition is to mobilise public private investment, leveraging the impact of the available budget. The objectives of the new initiative are:

  • Accelerating innovation and transfer of research results, translating innovation into concrete products, services and applications, responding to a clear need of customers and citizens.
  • Encouraging close-to-market investments involving innovative products and services through the deployment of new technologies or processes. While the value chain to be developed may be in traditional sectors, as a minimum the product or process should be new to market.
  • Bringing research results to the market helping companies to implement mature joint innovation projects (TRL6-8) in view of commercialization and scaling up.
  • Exploring and strengthening complementarities between different EU, national and regional instruments.
  • Mobilising public/private investors, de-risking private investment and leveraging the impact of EU funding.
  • Developing a pipeline of interregional investments, formalised in concrete business and investment plans, reshaping EU value chains.

I3 intends to support regional innovation stakeholders, well integrated in the regional innovation ecosystems, providing funding for mature joint innovation projects organised in value-chain investment portfolios.

Structure of the new instrument

I3 proposal foresees two strands with an approximately equal share of financial resources:

  • Strand 1 targeting well-developed ecosystems and focusing on the part of the value chains where weakness or market failures are identified (fragmentation, insufficient interconnection, financial or technological gap, interregional valley of death for the uptake of innovative technologies) and a solution could come from the interregional triple/quadruple helix cooperation.
  • Strand 2 targeting less developed regions and focusing on reinforcing the regional innovation ecosystems, unlocking under utilised capacities, which could reinforce EU value chains.

What does I3 want to achieve?

  • More interregional industrial cooperation mobilised via bottom up mechanisms and unlocking the innovation potential highlighted by RIS 3 strategies. In particular, priority should be given to innovative cooperation able to advance the green and digital transitions.
  • Strengthening the links between research, innovation and businesses at interregional level.
  • Strengthening the EU on the global stage, investing in strategic and future-oriented business areas where, boosting EU competitive advantage and value chains resilience can generate growth (across industrial sectors, value chains and regions).
  • Synergies and complementarities with other initiatives at EU, national and regional level, for example:
    • Horizon
    • DSM,
    • Space Program,
    • Single Market Program,
    • Life,
    • Creative Europe
    • European Defence Fund
    • Next Generation EU

Objective of the consultation

The purpose of the consultation process is to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to express their views on the future Interregional Innovation Investment (I3) initiative.
The objective is to collect contributions for further developments of the new instrument. It will help to collect views on the specific aspects (priority areas for investment, links with EU priorities, implementation mechanisms, type of support, investment needs, market failure, investment readiness, etc).
The inputs received from the stakeholders will help REGIO to shape:

  • the multiannual Work Programme (topics for the calls of the 2 strands of the new instrument)
  • the role of MS/regions/ networks and other triple helix stakeholders in the governance
  • how to involve different categories of regions (outermost, lagging, leading regions)
  • how to activate synergies with mainstream programmes and other EU funding programmes

Target Groups

This consultation is open to all citizens and stakeholders of the EU interested in innovation driven growth in the Cohesion Policy. Contributions are particularly sought from stakeholders from regional innovation ecosystems, which are actively involved in making innovation happen in the EU, such as:

  • Businesses of all sizes and in all sectors
  • Business support organisations including cluster organisations
  • Public authorities, including managing authorities
  • Partnerships registered under the 3 Thematic S3 Platforms (Industrial Modernisation, AgroFood and Energy)
  • Higher education and vocational training institutions
  • Science and technology parks
  • Incubators and accelerators
  • Technology transfer, Intellectual Property Rights management advisors, and other innovation brokers
  • Researchers and research organisations
  • Civil society organisations interested in finding innovative solutions for societal challenges
  • Public procurers
  • Business angels, venture capital firms and other types of investors in innovative businesses
  • Trade unions and employees' organisations

Reply to the public consultation

View and answer the questionnaire

Consultation Period

From 30.07.2020 to 30.09.2020
Due to the deadlines for the follow-up steps, we regret all replies received after the closing date will not be able to be considered.

Results of the public consultation

Results of the stakeholders’ consultation will be published on INFOREGIO website:

Transparency and confidentiality

Please note that contributions received from this survey, together with the identity of the contributor, will be published on the European Commission's website, unless the contributor objects to publication of the personal data on the grounds when such publication would harm his or her legitimate interests. In this case, the contribution may be published in anonymous form.
In the survey you are asked whether you are responding as an individual or representing the views of an organisation. We ask responding organisations to register in the Transparency Register. If you are not registered yet in this register, please visit:

Contact details of responsible service

European Commission
DG Regional and Urban Policy
Unit G1 – Competence Centre Smart and Sustainable Growth

Explanations about the protection of personal data

The Commission will publish the responses to this consultation. You can choose whether you would like your personal details to be made public or to remain anonymous.
The policy on "protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions" is based on Regulation (EU) 2018/1725  of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000. See information on the protection of personal data.
Please read the specific privacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with.