Synergies with the Cohesion Policy Funds

Synergies between the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and European Structural and Investment Funds is a key topic since the preparation of Horizon 2020 based on the need to convey European funds in a strategic way with the objective of strengthening the social and economic impact of R&I results.

The Horizon Europe regulation, as well as the other concerned Programmes of the Multi-annual Financial Framework 2021-2027, are strengthening this aspect in order to enable and simplify the convergence of EU Funds.

ERA-LEARN wants to help to bring about the conditions for more synergistic use of the Cohesion Policy Funds in order to support national participation in the next European Partnerships. In particular, we intend to support all relevant stakeholders, especially Managing Authorities, in addressing the issue of synergies between Structural Funds and the European Partnership by providing advice and concrete tools for the drafting of future operational programmes.

The work carried out consists of the following steps:

  • Desk research allowed the collection of a waste literature on best practices and case studies which may be fully replicable in the future.
  • Interviews with responsible representatives for the establishment of new European Partnership and Regional Authorities S3 representatives

The Commission services entitled for the Cohesion Policy are the most involved in enabling synergies since the key of the process stems from the Structural funds programs.
In the last programming period, the S3 Smart Specialisation Strategies, which are defined at national and regional level though a bottom-up approach (Entrepreneurial Discovery Process), became the enabling condition for the use of the structural funds. For the next programming period, new bridges have been conceived for enabling the use of regional national resources from Cohesion Policy Funds.

It becomes extremely important to create dialogue and knowledge sharing involving all the actors operating in different areas of interest and with different funding instruments.

Several barriers have been identified as main hurdles for the implementation of synergies in the 2014-2020programming period which will probably affect the next period as well. These barriers can be categorised into three different levels: Regulatory barriers; Organisational barriers; Attitudinal barriers. Overcoming those barriers is a key element which implies a common effort from all stakeholders: research centres, managing authorities, companies and NGOs.

An open dialogue among all the stakeholders involved may be beneficial for creating a synergistic funding landscape for European Partnerships by bringing on the surface the needs of stakeholders to the Managing authorities and stimulate the creation of funding measures that enable synergies and R&D policy alignment for increasing the impact of R&D results.

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