The “Research and innovation in enterprises” policy instrument was the focus of the Małopolska Region Peer Review workshop in Alentejo (Portugal). That instrument is the most important source of EU funding for enterprises interested in fostering their R&D. It is supposed to drive R&D results into commercial success of the Małopolska companies and scientists.
The “Research and innovation in enterprises” is a measure and a part of the Regional Operational Programme for the Małopolska Region 2014-2020. It is composed of three sub-measures:
• R&D projects of enterprises
• R&D infrastructure of enterprises
• Innovation vouchers
The idea behind the first two is to improve the conditions for R&D in companies either by fostering R&D projects of enterprises or by supporting their R&D infrastructure. The role of the Innovation vouchers is to strengthen the cooperation between SMEs and R&D sector via financial support delivered in the form of ‘vouchers’. This scheme is very easy and attractive for SMEs due to a low bureaucracy burden.
All the above issues have been presented and discussed in details by the Małopolska Region representatives including the Marshal Office of the Małopolska Region and the Małopolskie Entrepreneurship Centre, member of the stakeholders group. It is worth to mention invaluable, active engagement and assistance of all InnoBridge project partners in the workshop on Małopolska.
During the Peer Review the critical questions of the partners as well as the questions raised
by the Małopolska Region were addressed and discussed. As a result the region got an important expert assessment and input for further improvements.
The outcomes of the assessment in general were very positive. The Peer Review highlighted
as a success substantial critical mass for R&D commercialization, strong visibility of the assessed measure for the target group, and sufficient budget resources with a long term perspective.
The partners pointed also a very good integration of the peer-reviewed measure into the regional support system with a strong networking among the stakeholders (e.g. Working Groups for Smart Specialisation).
The major area for improvement according to the project partners was about departing from the EU funds and finding new ways of financing regional innovation policy as well as finding some successful non-financial policy instruments. That important issues for the Małopolska Region
would be further explored during next Interregional Working Workshops especially in Tampere (Finland) in March 2017. Partners suggestions included also: building even stronger innovation culture, not neglecting evaluation and monitoring issues, expecting clear results from beneficiaries, further cooperation between regional and national level in order to avoid duplication of support.
Some interesting remarks occurred concerning the important role of administration in strengthening trust of innovation actors by highlighting success stories of R+D cooperation and commercialization. This is in line with the Małopolska Region activities e.g. the Małopolska Innovation Festival
and the Małopolska Programme - where technology becomes business. The Małopolska Innovation Festival is an annual, one week, region-wide event engaging last year (2016) 42 business and science partners in approx. 100 events (e.g. conferences, discussion panels, lectures, exhibitions, interactive presentations, trainings, open days in companies and science institutions, etc.). The Festival is one
of the proposed good practices of the Małopolska Region in the InnoBridge project.
The Peer Review was a great opportunity for the Małopolska Region to discuss its key policy instrument for R&D commercialization with experts from other regions across Europe. Their input together with the stakeholder’s group voice will help the region in developing better SWOT analysis and more accurate Action Plan.