IMPROVE presents the project’s results after 4 years of cooperation for the improvement of R&D policies

The IMPROVE project presented the results of their work with partners from Spain, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Finland and Portugal to improve the management and implementation of Structural Funds and ensure more efficient execution of R&D&I policies, with special attention to Smart Specialization Strategies.

Representatives of the eight countries of the ‘IMPROVE’ consortium, stakeholders, and representatives of other European regions met last the 3rd of May at the Committee of the Regions (Brussels) for the final dissemination event of this interregional cooperation project, financed by the Interreg Europe Programme.

Since 2019, IMPROVE has aimed to promote smart, sustainable, and inclusive regional development of the participating regions through greater effectiveness of policies and programs that support research, technological development, and innovation from Europe.

During the final event, the main results of ‘IMPROVE’ were presented, including the 17 Good Practices identified and the in-depth study visits, which allowed for a rescheduling of the project work plan affected by COVID-19, organizing study visits in small groups and visiting the regions whose good practices were closest to the interests of each partner.

Additionally, new European initiatives were presented, such as the Partnerships for Regional Innovation, supported by the European Committee of the Regions and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission. These types of partnerships facilitate regions’ economic and social transformation through strategic policies to support innovation, industrial development, and ecological transition.

The Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) instrument was also introduced, which provides funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the commercialization and expansion of interregional innovation projects in priority areas of smart specialization.

The S3 Community of Practice is another initiative that has been introduced, a space for sharing the knowledge acquired in recent years in the context of smart specialization strategies, open to professionals, legislators, researchers, companies, government agencies, industrial associations, and civil society organizations.

Finally, the event ended with a roundtable discussion where project partners commented on the regional action plans implemented to improve their R&D&I policy instruments and the future challenges in the current European landscape.