The EDP process aims to strengthen cooperation and coordination of enterprises, research institutions, Universities, and existing public-private aggregations.
The EC has stressed the necessity of using new approaches when planning and strategizing the design of new public policies as well as the use of the ESIF resources. One of the key points in that approach is the involvement of different stakeholders, for which the EDP has been widely used in the regional planning level.
In the case of the Abruzzo Region, the EDP has been a crucial and initial step for firms and research agents to open and explore new domains of technological and market opportunities; but also as a process generating information on the value of such new domains, thereby supporting policy-makers in their investment and policy decisions for regional development.
This has been very important in the planning process of instruments such as the ERDF ROP in the Region. However, practice has stressed that the EDP goes beyond the planning stages and effectively continues during the RIS3 implementation and monitoring. There has been an effort to ensure good governance and the key stakeholders in the region participation, specially the private sector. In the EDP the involvement there are local governments, research organizations, higher education institutions, SMEs and large companies, business associations,
chambers of commerce, labour unions, the regional government and even national clusters.
The EDP process and the RIS3 governance system employs 2 people full time as well as externa technical assistance, with the active participation of 50 plus stakeholders. The 3 open calls have allocated 27,45 M euros of ESIF funding.
Evidence of success
From January 2016, around 500 SMEs and 10 large enterprises from the Abruzzo Region, as well as 25 focus groups (5 per 5 main sectors: automotive; ICT/space; health care,:agri-food; fashion/design) participated in a process for defining the RIS3 main axis as well as the configuration of the 3 open calls already activated, with a high degree of success in participation and funding allocation.There have been 3 open calls of the ERDF and ESF ROPs based on the results of the EDP for 27.45 M euros.
The EDP as an on-going process needs to face some challenges such as involving emerging actors, adding a transregional dimension (eg. National Strategy), facing the potential conflicts (incl. interests) with stakeholders or the proper translation of the EDP results into coherent policy instruments.
Potential for learning or transfer
A good practice is running “EDP pilots” before launching an open call, with workshops and focus groups and specific communication tools.
This practice offers a number of specific and very interesting tools that could be transferred to other regions successfully:
• The stakeholders’ dialogue Platform in the Region’s website that makes the whole process transparent, easy, less time consuming and less costly for all stakeholders.
• Application of the EDP process before each call is very important since it increases the potential success of the call and the cooperation between partners.
• The EDP as a continuous process adds extremely valuable results due to the fact that the social and economic environment changes quickly (especially regarding innovation), so stakeholders are able to discuss issues closer to the final implementation of the policy instruments and not only in an early and strategic stage. This creates a “cooperation momentum” close to the call and builds systemic trust.