European Institutions and regions should play an important role in fostering an efficient and inclusive Research and Innovation (R&I) ecosystem by creating the right framework for focusing investments on high value added priorities and a smart vision of territorial development. In this way, promoting regional synergies in the European context can contribute to two complementary objectives: helping to close the innovation divide across European territories and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of public policy intervention.
Promoting regional synergies between ESIF and other funding programs (e.g. COSME, Horizon 2020) could maximize the specific value added of investments such as the capacity to support effectively research capacity building and the exploitation of research results for raising the overall social/economic impact of European R&I. There are different types of synergies, i.e. simultaneous/cumulative use of funds; parallel use of funds in separate projects; upstream sequential combination of funds; downstream sequential combination and alternative funding through ESIF. Synergies are intended as a combination of project and funds.
How to improve synergies?
Some recommendations to implement effectively:
- The design of the synergies should be a requirement of the strategic policy frameworks and should envisage operational provisions to create the conditions for an effective accomplishment of synergies in the operative programs.
- The work programs should consider synergies both in the proposal and management phase of the project. The design of possible synergies should be a requirement in the proposal and their fulfillment should be monitored through the periodic reports.
- Reinforce the role of national agencies and European contact points in raising awareness on synergies among regional research and innovation stakeholders and potential beneficiaries, creating synergies with regional and local ESIF implementing authorities.
- Set up rules for audits related to innovation programs, taking into account the specifies of projects implying simultaneous/cumulative use of funds.
- Settle a monitoring mechanism and study on the modalities, extent of the actual fulfillment of the synergies as well as its impact on innovation and cohesion in the EU, starting from the 2021-2027 programming period. This monitoring would allow to identify the factors hindering synergies and to take actions to effectively enable them.
(Read How Europe accepts the digital challenge to understand how benefits from digital solutions will help us to reach many synergies)
We have nowadays a chance to work together for an inclusive and innovative Europe that takes into account the diversity for a multiplicity of innovation and ideas to tackle the global challenges with more precision. Also we have an obligation to improve every resource we invest in research, development and innovation.