According to EUROSTAT, the European Union dedicates 2.03% of GDP to research, development and innovation. The rise of new technologies such as quantum technologies, artificial intelligence, bionic bodies, transport systems and research on the human brain is opening new opportunities and, at the same time, is challenging Europe and its readiness for embracing the revolutionary technologies and the extent to which the consequences of such innovations could be predicted.

The Innovation Union was launched in 2010 as a flagship initiative of Europe 2020 strategy aimed at strengthening European innovation potentials to raise competiveness. The Innovation Union introduced a more strategic and broader approach to innovation by taking into account both the supply and demand side aspects. To achieve impact, key drivers are capacity building and the mobilisation of target stakeholders of the innovation ecosystem, two elements of particular relevance for the Interreg Europe Research and Innovation projects.

Building blocks of the Innovation Union

Strengthening the knowledge base and reducing fragmentation

Getting good ideas to market

European Innovation Partnerships

Maximising social and territorial cohesion

The vast majority of European Member States has measures in place under European Research Area to train enough researchers to meet their national targets. 

Launch of Horizon 2020, the focusing of European Regional Development Funds on smart specialisation strategies,  progress towards the European Research Area, and support for skills development.

Easing access to finance and leveraging the engagement of private sector (industries and business) including the creation of debt and equity facilities and the launch of the European venture capital passport.

Horizon 2020’s specific actions on access to risk finance, with a budget of EUR 2.8 Billion to be implemented through ‘InnovFin – EU finance for innovators’.

So far, 34 European Venture Capital Funds have been established.

Five European Innovation Partnerships were launched in key areas of active and healthy ageing, water, agricultural productivity, raw materials and smart cities.

The main achievements include the engagement of a wide range of partners across the demand and supply side, the launch of real-scale demonstrations, a collection of good practices, tools for their replication and compilations of evidence on the impact of integrated services.

Deployment of strategies and tools which promote convergence across European regions in terms   of innovation performance.

The European Structural Investment Funds will contribute EUR 118 Billion to smart growth on the basis of the Smart Specialisation Strategies.

The latest edition of the European Social Innovation Competition has attracted more than 1400 applications from all over Europe, confirming the success of the initiative.

The Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platforms are here to stimulate knowledge exchange. The projects of the same family will be encouraged to learn from each other. To fine-tune the services and products of the platforms to the user needs, we encourage you to share your ideas with Andrea Di Anselmo, a.dianselmo@policylearning.eu, Thematic Manager for Research and Innovation.