The Call is an innovative ERDF instrument that puts objectives first rather than activities. Because it doesn’t define actions in advance, it is flexible.
In the recent past the Northern Netherlands have created several innovation environments and hubs. During Beyond peer review meetings it was concluded that they could become more effective as vehicles for continuous Entrepreneurial Discovery Processes.
Discussions with the Beyond EDP project partners and experts, as Dominique Foray and the EC’s Joint Research Centre, inspired SNN to design a new support instrument to foster these processes: to stimulate businesses, knowledge partners and society stay in a continuous interaction, to foster cooperation and to increase the chances for discoveries.
There was a technical reason as well to create the Open Innovation Call.
SNN felt that most support instruments within Structural Funds programmes, were too directive in advance, hampering the creativity of the actors involved.
The main novelty of the Call is that it is directive not in terms of activities or actions - for which to receive funding or not, as usually is the case with support instruments - but objectives
The logic of the call starts with a strictly defined objective. What follows is an open invitation for consortia to come up with initiatives which contribute to the objective. Crucial is that it’s up to the consortia to define the initiative, that is how to reach the objective. Nothing is defined in advance. All actions or activities which form an indispensable element of the project are eligible. This of course subject to basic rules, in line with EU Regulations.

Resources needed

The Call has a budget of € 20 million for two years. Of this amount € 12 million is funded by ERDF, € 8 million by national public money. The contribution is maximized at 40% of the total eligible costs.

Evidence of success

The Open Innovation Call was highly welcomed by stakeholders in the Northern Netherlands. Several initiatives have taken since the introduction. Of the total budget about €5 million have been allocated so far. The Call has received much attention outside of the region as well, for instance by the EC's Joint Research Center. In 2018 the call was presented at a workshop during the EWRC in Brussels.

Difficulties encountered

The main challenge is to select projects that in a structural way contribute to the open innovation climate in the region. In the selection of projects a crucial role is played by external experts. Each project is assessed by an external body with experts from businesses and knowledge institutes.

Potential for learning or transfer

The Open Innovation Call is a support instrument within the Northern Netherlands Regional ERDF Operational Programme 2014-2020. The OP and Call aim at thematic objectives 1.b and 4.F. Potentially the Call is transferable to each ERDF OPin the European Union with similar objectives. In terms of technique - the design of assessment criteria - the applicability is even wider.

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Main institution
Northern Netherlands Provinces Alliance
Groningen, Netherlands (Nederland)
Start Date
January 2018
End Date


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