Within the framework of the interregional cooperation project 'IMPROVE', financed by the Interreg Europe Programme, regions from Spain, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Finland and Portugal will work together for the next four years on a better management and implementation of regional development policies and programmes in R&D&I.

Representatives of the eight countries participating in the project  met in Badajoz (Spain) for the kick-off meeting held by FUNDECYT Science and Technology Park, as lead partner of the project.

The IMPROVE project brings together partners with different background in terms of geographic area, economic development, innovation performance, more or less centralised administration system and responsibility for the management of R&D&I policies, with the aim of improving the effectiveness of Structural Funds Programmes dedicated to build up R&D&I policies and support the implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategies.

The policy instruments addressed by the project are mainly Structural Funds Programmes, except for 2 Municipal Development Plans, which have the common goal of enhancing a knowledge-based regional/municipal economic growth. Thus, IMPROVE will positively contribute to regional smart, sustainable and inclusive development by strengthening the effectiveness of policies/programmes to support Research, Technological Development and Innovation in the participating regions.

IMPROVE is designed to foster the exchange of practices, experiences and knowledge and increase the capacities of partners and stakeholders involved, taking into consideration their profiles and regional interests. To this end it will address common challenges with regards to:

1) framework, policy mix and instruments for the delivery of R&D&I policies and the implementation of smart specialisation strategies

2) coordination with other Funds managed at regional/national/European level

3) transnational coordination

4) governance 

5) monitoring and evaluation.


The project will improve 8 policy instruments and ensure its long-term impact involving the managing authorities in the interregional learning process, both as partners and stakeholders. The project´s main activities are:

1) analysis of the regional state of the art regarding Structural Funds management and implementation

2) exchange of experiences by means of Peer Reviews, identification of Good Practices and Interregional Thematic Workshops

3) transfer of knowledge and experiences to the regions.

Those responsible for the project indicate that 'IMPROVE' will allow not only the creation of methodologies for a more efficient management and implementation of instruments and policies related to R&D&I and Smart Specialisation, but that the knowledge generated will be made available throughout Europe through the Policy Learning Platform of the Interreg Europe Programme, which will also facilitate synergy with other ongoing European projects and the search for collaborations.