The 4th Steering Committee Meeting of the Smart Specialization Platform for Industrial Modernization (S3P-Industry), combined with a Joint Thematic Platforms Conference, took place in Bilbao on 27th & 28th of November, hosted by the government of the Basque Country. The two-day event attracted a lot of interest resulting in over 250 participants representing 61 European regions from a total of 18 Member States. The established Thematic Area on Chemicals, which ECRN members have recently launched with the support of the ECRN Secretariat, is part of this Platform and, thus, was invited to the event. This meeting carried great importance also because it takes place right before the crucial discussions in the EU instructions on the next programming period.
Most of the 18 partnerships under S3P-Industry were represented, as well as different DGs of the Commission – DG GROW, DG REGIO, DG RTD, DG JRC as well as DG AGRI. Among the invited speakers was Lia Voermans from Brightlands Chemelot Campus (Limburg), Lead partner of the Chemical Partnership, who presented several concrete investment priorities on which the region aims to cooperate. In a poster display session, ECRN engaged participating regions in the aims of the Chemical partnership and in the work of the network. A total of 28 partnership posters were displayed at the venue throughout the two conference days in Bilbao. Electronic versions of these posters are now available for download and dissemination from the S3 Platform Knowledge Repository.
During the event, the Innovation Radar was presented, which aims at providing easy access to innovations supported by EU funding and the innovators behind them. Already 21 Members states have signed so far the Innovation Radar declaration to demonstrate their commitment to promoting innovative excellence in their countries.
S3P-Industry now includes various Thematic Areas and the event gave an opportunity for all regions to come together and support each other with the experience they have gained. Based on their work in the platform, regions have identified other European regions with complementary priorities, discussed how to prevent overlapping investments in pilot facilities and research, where investments can be complimented across borders. Barriers still exist, however, and among them is the lack of political support to dedicate regional funds in interregional investments, challenge to engage companies, when partnerships still do not have concrete project ideas (in the initial stage), and challenge to commercialize (at a later stage).
In order to support existing and also new partnerships, the European Commission:
- will provide, through COSME calls, expert support for the development of business plans to mature project ideas (from February onwards)
- foresees in its proposal on the European Territorial Cooperation for 2021-2027, ca. 1 billion EUR for interregional innovation projects, from which S3P-Industry Thematic Areas will be well-suited to benefit.
To access all the presentations delivered during the four sub-events through the following links: