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Call key data
I3 Capacity Building
Interregional Innovation Investments
Estimated EU contribution per project
between € 500,000.00 and € 1,500,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
The overall objective of the I3 Strand 2b is to build capacity in less developed regions to develop and strengthen their regional innovation ecosystems and value chains through coordinated and interlinked investments in several regions.
This call for proposals aims to improve the capacity of public authorities and innovation intermediaries (e.g. clusters) to support companies in the identification of investment portfolios at an interregional scale e.g. in particular by tackling EU burning challenges and fostering deep tech solutions.
Less developed regions and other categories of regions (such as EU outermost regions or regions with specific challenges) are facing different challenges and obstacles linked to innovation building and diffusion and often experience difficulties in building institutional and legal environments conducive to innovation.
In addition, the lack of interregional collaboration opportunities with research and technology organisations (RTOs), investors, and industry experts further blocks their potential for innovation. The absence of tailored supportive policies and regulations specific to the needs of these regions creates barriers to establish an enabling environment for innovation and interregional cooperation.
Moreover, less developed regions’ innovation actors often face difficulty in developing the business case or an insufficient maturity of the technology level of their business idea.
Accordingly, the core activities under this call for proposals shall complement the existing support to the capacity building of less developed regions to enable their interregional ecosystems address these challenges
The purpose of this action is to build capacities for a successful participation in Strand 1 or Strand 2a calls, enhancing interregional cooperation with a view to identifying and sharing good practices, and experimenting new approaches. This will also help public authorities and agencies to design evidence-based and targeted policy interventions in the long-term
Projects can offer an added value when promoting the participation of EU outermost regions and addressing their specific needs. Due consideration will be given to such added value during the evaluation of I3 project proposals. Projects can also offer an added value when supporting regions with specific challenges, such as difficulties in retaining and attracting talents
Proposals shall present projects that help creating and maturing interregional innovation projects in shared smart specialisation areas. Proposals shall aim to facilitate the validation process of investment ideas through improved knowledge of business and investment planning. Projects shall identify and address gaps and business opportunities for reinforcing value chains or building new ones. This should be done by focusing on building concrete capacities on business and investment planning involving companies in a specific value chain with a clear path for developing a strand 2a I3 application.
Proposals should encourage the active involvement of companies and civil society alongside public administrations and other quadruple-helix stakeholders.
Proposed actions can experiment with “out-of-the-box” approaches to deliver validated solutions and good practice examples to increase the capacity to engage in interregional innovation processes.
Projects are encouraged to ensure that the knowledge and capabilities gained can be replicated and embedded in the region to assure continuous support after the end of the project.
Expected effects and impacts
The outcome of Strand 2b projects is expected to be the increased capacity of less developed regions. In particular, regional innovation ecosystems are expected to strengthen their capacity to deliver concrete interregional innovation investments within EU value chains and the capacity to tap into other funding instruments beyond the project duration. Upon project completion, it is expected that involved SMEs will possess an enhanced capacity to attract private investments.
Priority shall be given to actions for capacity building and investment project piloting related to the green and the digital transition and to smart manufacturing including deep tech innovation, e.g. (non exhaustive list):
- Creation and reinforcement of an interregional innovative and resilient ecosystem (e.g. through innovation ecosystem governance empowerment);
- Company engagement and identification of a pipeline of investment projects,
- Increasing investment readiness and capacity to build interregional business and investment plans;
- Exploring the use of technical assistance from the mainstream programmes to structure and reinforce the local ecosystems internally (identification of specific challenges to address fragmentation, identification of the innovation potential, ecosystem building and animation, company involvement, putting in place the right framework conditions based on best practices identified) in order to develop the capacities to connect the local ecosystems at interregional level;
- Connecting less developed regions with other ecosystems (reinforcing connections with relevant platforms and EU networks, mobilising the ecosystem in the framework of S3 partnerships) and integration them in EU value chains;
- Building capacities to understand value chains articulation and implementation.
Regions / countries for funding
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities), which complies with the following conditions:
- composed of minimum 2 independent legal entities representing 2 different regional ecosystems from 2 different EU Member States
- representing at least 1 “more developed region” of an EU Member State
- include innovation actors such as public administrations, research and academia, industry, and end users
- must include innovation intermediaries with an umbrella role (e.g., clusters representing companies, universities, RTOs) to maximise the representation of quadruple helix stakeholders from less developed regions
- the coordinator must be established in an EU Member State from a “less developed region” and be either a public body, private non-profit organisation, Member State Organisation acting under indirect management or international organisation
In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:
- be legal entities (public or private bodies)
- be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
- EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
- non-EU countries : listed EEA countries and countries associated to the I3 Instrument or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries)
Exceptional funding — Entities from other countries (not listed above) are exceptionally eligible, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action.
Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self-employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person.
International organisations — International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.
Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offerguarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
between 18 and 24 months
Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:
- Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator, beneficiaries and affiliated entities) and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
- Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded)
- Part C contains additional project data (to be filled in directly online)
- mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
- Detailed budget table (template available in submission system)
- CVs (short outlines) of core project team
- list of previous projects (key projects for the last 4 years) (template available in Part B)
- letter of support (mandatory, endorsement letter from the MS authority responsible for the regional smart specialisation strategy (S3)). The endorsement letter is required per each regional innovation ecosystem at appropriate NUTS level (NUTS level I, II or III) depending on the context of each Member State and/or region) and it is a requirement for all members represented in the I3 project consortium.
Proposals are limited to maximum 60 pages (Part B).