European Week

Shape the European Week of Regions and Cities 2019!

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The European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual four-day event during which cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance. The next edition will take place from 7 to 10 October 2019. By answering to the survey below, you take the chance to have a word on the last edition and to shape the European Week of Regions and Cities 2019. It will take you only 30 seconds to vote.

Participate to the survey

On the 16th edition of the European Week of Regions and Cities, SERN organised a participatory session on “Pre-Commercial Procurement: challenges faced by regions and cities”. The session highlighted how public procurers can increase innovation from the demand side by buying the development and testing new solutions. The debate featured Mr. Eurico Neves (co-founder of SERN), Mrs. Ellinor Wallin (CEO of Euro Technologies AB) and Mrs. Lian De Boer (Economic Advisor of the Municipality of Groningen). For further information on the session, please see the event page website.

SERN session on Pre-Commercial Procurement: Challenges faced by the regions and cities


EU Prize for Women Innovators 2019

EU Prize for Women Innovators 2019

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EU Prize for Women Innovators 2019 - TimelineThe EU Prize for Women Innovators is a cash prize awarded every year to European women who founded a successful company and brought an innovation to market.

The prize will be awarded to up to 4 women innovators in total, who have had the largest impact on the innovation ecosystem by transforming ideas into new and advanced products and/ services for the benefit of European citizens. Women are underrepresented in terms of creating innovative enterprises. This is untapped potential for Europe, which needs to optimise all available resources to remain competitive and find solutions to our societal challenges. This award recognises the role of women in bringing about game-changing innovations to market and honours the outstanding achievements of female entrepreneurs running innovative companies.

The contest is open to women from across the EU and countries associated to Horizon 2020, who have founded a successful company and brought innovation to market. The deadline is the 16th of January 2019 and the participants can apply online. More information and application here.

European Entrepreneurial Region 2020

European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) 2020 Edition open for applications

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The 2020 edition of the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) Award has been launched. The EER award is open to all EU regions and cities that are ready to implement an ambitious strategy to support their SMEs and entrepreneurs. Each year, the EER label is awarded to three EU territories with an outstanding, future-oriented strategy to promote entrepreneurship and support small and medium-sized enterprises in their territories. All EU regions, cities or any other local or regional institution with the political competence to implement an entrepreneurial vision are invited to hand in their application, irrespective of their size or wealth.

The EER gives recognition and visibility to your entrepreneurial strategy and concrete projects. It helps you reach out to your entrepreneurial ecosystem’s stakeholders and give a boost to the ecosystem’s maturation. It provides you with access to a network of potential partners for cooperation initiatives.

The deadline for the submission of applications is 27 March 2019. The application form and detailed information about the assessment criteria are available here and on the flyer here. Regions and cities that are ready to implement a future-oriented entrepreneurial strategy are invited to apply by e-mail to

1% for Culture Campaign

Call for Action: Ensure adequate funding for culture within Creative Europe

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Action is required now to ensure adequate funding for culture both within Creative Europe and across other programmes.

Creative Europe, along with other programmes, is currently undergoing the process to determine its budget for the next 7 years as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations. Both the Parliament and the Commission have signalled that they are ready to make an effort to reach agreement on the package before the May 2019 European Parliamentary elections.

The Parliament is voting on its draft interim report on the MFF on 14 November, which contains the proposal to double the budget of Creative Europe. Attentions must now be focussed on the Council to ensure their support. The European Council will meet on 13-14 December 2018, when Member States will hold a political debate on the MFF.

1% for culture campaign video

To contribute to this endeavour, Culture Action Europe prepared template letter (also translated into FrenchGerman and Dutch) which you can send to your national ministers, particularly your finance minister, foreign affairs minister and culture minister.

You can tailor the letter as necessary for each national context, and may wish to use supporting examples of cultural impact from the Culture Action Europe impact review, the Value and Values of Culture. We have just one month to make our voices heard in the Council, so let us make this much-needed joint effort to secure a fair level of funding for the future of culture in Europe!

Read more about the 1% for Culture Campaign here.


Join SERN in Sofia on the 14th and 15th of November 2018!

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On the 14th of November 2018, SERN will be a guest speaker at the thematic workshop on fostering entrepreneurship and business creation, in Sofia (Bulgaria). The Policy Learning Platform thematic workshop will focus on the latest trends and developments from the European perspective and on the collaborations between regions and European initiatives aiming to support entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the workshop will address the initiatives done by the European regions to boost entrepreneurship and business creation.

The thematic workshop will be held back-to-back with the Startup Europe Summit 2018, in which SERN is attending, on the 15th of November 2018. During this day, startup leading founders and tech leaders share their learning, providing perspective and showing what it takes to build a successful startup. The policy conference, focused on early stage pioneers, is led by the European Commission and will be about technology leadership, European ecosystem funding and growing your business. The Startup Europe Summit will especially focus on the development of startup ecosystems in Central and Eastern Europe countries, as well as their connection to more developed ecosystems.

More information and registration about the thematic workshop on fostering entrepreneurship and business creation here and about the Startup Europe Summit 2018 here.

Cities for excellence

“Cities for Excellence” Event in Brussels

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Be first in touch with Bilbao, Brno, Guimarães, Helsinki, Sønderborg, Vienna, Vilnius’ best practices on Smart Cities and innovative urban governance!

Cities for Excellence event will be held in Brussels, in Oct 11th and 12th during European Week of Regions and Cities at Lithuanian and Portuguese Permanent representations to EU. Follow in first-hand the presentations from European Commission both opening and closing the plenary session, Friday Oct 12th.

Interventions from ERRIN, EUROCITIES, CARTIF, GAIA, VITO and Universities of Vilnius (VGTU) Minho, Wolverhampton will be delivered, making this event the unmissable opportunity for networking to new H2020 projects and strategic partnering to FP9/Horizon Europe for Cities for Excellence related missions. More information about the event and registration here.

Learntech Accelerator Webinar series in Autumn 2018

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The first LEA webinar topic ‘What is innovative procurement – PPI & PCP’ hosted by the EU project consultant Mrs. Ellinor Wallin and Dr. Kati Clements will take place on Wednesday 19th of September at 10:30 am CET. LEA Webinars will take place on Wednesday at 10:30 am CET, every two weeks.

LEA Webinar Series will talk about innovation procurement in Learning technology field. In these webinars you will learn about innovation procurement instruments such as, PCP, PPI and innovation partnerships; what is currently available in Learning technology market 2018 and how to apply for additional funding. In each webinar, changing Innovation procurement & LT experts will discuss these topics for about 15-20 minutes after which participants can join the discussion.

The LEA project’s goal is to accelerate knowledge transfer, dialog and awareness raising of innovative procurement within the learning technology sector by creating a European wide learntech procurers’ network. LEA is preparing the first cross-border European Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) and wants to showcase the excellent opportunities for procurement of innovation within that sector. More information about LEA project here.

#edtech #learntech #learntechaccelerator #horizon2020 #innovativeprocurement


Join the discussion here

RegionArts Project Kick-off Meeting

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The Kick-off meeting of the RegionArts project, took place on the 9th and 10th of July 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. RegionArts aims to create a sustainable collaborative environment between artists and technologists, through a learning journey across the worlds of ICT & Arts. During the last decade, there has been an increasing recognition of the importance of artistic and creative processes as catalysers of innovation, something particularly noted in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) that intersect in many fields with artistic processes. RegionArts partners are convinced of the need of integrating arts in ITC for SME innovation and competitiveness. As regional authorities, business development agencies and creative clusters, they have been working on promoting these cross-overs for the last years.

The project objective is to improve the implementation of Structural Funds/other funds in partner regions, through adapting or designing 1 support scheme in each region for the promotion of collaborations between artists and ICT companies. Consequently, through the improved support scheme, we will promote around 140 new collaborations in total (around 20 per region) and 20% of the beneficiary SMEs introducing an innovation by 2022.

Within the scope of the project, SERN is interested in learning about the connection between arts and ICT, how these synergies can be maximized to promote the competitiveness of startups and how regions are promoting these. SERN will take part in RegionArts through an active participation in all the interregional events, by contributing to the conception and dissemination of three policy booklets and through a responsible dedication to the communication and dissemination activities. More information here.

SERN recommendations considered for the EC “Guidance on Innovation Procurement”

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SERN innovation procurement

We are glad to report that all SERN comments have been taken into consideration for ‘The European Commission Notice “Guidance on Innovation procurement”, published on the 15th of May 2018. SERN welcomed the opportunity to provide comments and statements on the subject and elaborated a response to the consultation in order to contribute to assist the regions in providing startups with a better and easier access to public procurement and would contribute to improve the communication between procurers and vendors.

The “Guidance on Innovation procurement” offers practical guidance on innovation public procurement, clarifies what is innovation procurement, outlines how to setup a policy framework and describes how different public procurement procedures can be put at work to modernize public services with innovative solutions and create growth and jobs for innovators in Europe. Discover more about the EC public procurement guidance here.

Financial Instrument for Innovation (Innova-FI) Kick-off Meeting

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Innova-FIThe Kick-off meeting of the Innova-FI – Financial Instruments for Innovation project, led by the National Innovation Agency, took place on the 2nd and 3rd of July 2018 in Porto, Portugal.

The European Council, in 2000, acknowledged the need of increasing the expenditure in innovation by implementing better policies and making a better use of public funds. To achieve this, the EC has put great emphasis on increasing the use of financial instruments (FI’s) as a delivery tool for the Cohesion Policy.

Financial Instruments for Innovation – Innova-FI partners are seeking to improve the design and implementation of Financial Instruments as a delivery mode of Structural Funds, so that they best meet and serve the financing needs of innovative and RTDI-driven businesses in all the stages of their start-up and growth. Innova-FI partners will do this by learning about the innovation landscape, and how it is being publicly financed, in partner regions. The consortium will examine together identified challenges, such as: designing FI’s that are well adapted to the different phases of the business; moving away from a grants culture, very much established in the RTDI and innovation field; achieving a better alignment of FI’s with other support measures; or creating cross-border instruments.

SERN is one of the seven partners of INNOVA-FI project and will take the role of Communications Manager. SERN possess a long-standing experience in organising events as well as in liaising with EU partners and EU institutions, two core activities under Innova-FI. More information here.