STOA Online Workshop: Exploring synergies between Horizon Europe and regional policy

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) and Horizon Europe, when operating individually, provide significant support for research, development, and innovation.

Supporting synergies in their use and implementation may deliver additional gains in terms of better innovation results, closing the innovation gap in Europe, and promoting economic growth.

The call for better synergies reflects the need for a more efficient and effective use of available funding instruments to build sustainable long-term knowledge capacitiesand improve the overall quality of national and regional innovation systems.

The European Parliament and Council have made it clear that this approach needs to be implemented. However, to actively promote the combination of both funds is no simple matter given the different aims and nature of the funds.

Furthermore, the combination of various EU funding sources is complex due to differing rules, eligibility criteria, and time-frames (for calls, policy cycles, etc.) between EU-funded programmes.

Horizon Europe and the previous EU framework programmes for research provide funding on the basis of excellence through transnational competitive calls and direct awards to final beneficiaries (universities, research centres, firms, etc.), regardless of their geographical location.

Horizon Europe is managed directly by the European Commission, overseeing the organisation of calls, the evaluation of proposals and the monitoring of project implementation.

ESIFs are based on multi-annual programmes, aiming to reduce regional disparities with a non-competitive attribution based on strategic planning negotiation and being awarded through shared management with national and regional managing authorities.

Despite their differences, there are also major complementarities andsynergies that should be utilised. Horizon Europe focuses on tackling major societal challenges, maximising the competitiveness impact of research and innovation and raising and spreading levels of excellence in the research base.

ESIFs have a strong emphasis on governance via the smart specialisation process and the definition of clear objectives on building knowledge and innovation capacity.

However, the process of synergy is sluggish, with complex interactions existing between different innovation actors.

This needs to be overcome, since, as recognised by the European Institutions, the successful deployment of a strategic perspective combining different funding instruments and policy frameworks may substantially boost competitiveness, welfare and growth in the EU regions.

To achieve this objective, it is crucial to align strategies andimplementation modalities,and complement existing and future roadmaps. The aim of this workshopis to explore breakthroughs in the synergies between the Horizon Europe and regional policy instruments.

Document type
  • Practical Advice/Guide


Publication Year


Geographical focus
  • European Union (EU 27)
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Admin on February 3, 2021
Modified on February 3, 2021