The main aim of the measure is to increase the Highly Qualified Personnel in R&D activites in the local SMEs to improve the capacity of innovation.
South-Tyrol displays a low score of R&D expenditure on GDP. One of the causes is the low level of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) in the SMEs. In comparison to the neighbouring regions it shows a shortage of graduated personnel.Aids in favour of RDI contribute to the sustainable economic growth, strengthen the competitiveness and promote the job market.
The main objective of the call is to support through the aid the qualification of the personnel involved in the innovation processes of the SMEs and hence increases the latter’s R&D results in the medium term.
The EU REGULATION No 651/2014 provides for the possibility to support the secondment of HQP. Our Dept., in order to address the local needs, successfully introduced, under the de minimis Regulation, also the possibility of hiring HQP. The financial aid is 50% of the costs for max. 2 years/pers.
HQP means staff having a tertiary education degree (only technicalscientific) and at least 3/5 years of professional experience. The enterprises, which have identified candidates with the requirements, can apply. The applications are evaluated by the Dept.: if positive, the enterprises receive communication that they will receive the financing after actual hiring/secondment. The SMEs receive the financing upon presentation of the expenditure report (possible every 6 months).
The beneficiaries of the practice are the local SMEs. The main stakeholders involved are IDM, the local business associations and the consultants.

Resources needed

1st call: 1.600.000 Euros; 2nd call: 2.200.000 Euros
Human resources involved: one for the evaluation (applications and expenditure reports), one for the payments. Funding sources: local funds of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, funds for innovation and research. No ERDF funds.

Evidence of success

The first evidence of success is the creation of new jobs: 45 open-ended employment contracts and 16 fix-term contracts were activated.
Further evidence of success is the number of enterprises participating in the call: 58 applications were approved (the numbers refer to the two calls). From May 2018 the measure is not launched in form of a call anymore; instead, application will be evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Difficulties encountered

Since from the first 2 calls the flexibility of the HQP emerged, in the coming aid the enterprise will be able, if the contract is terminated before its end date, to report the personnel’s working period anyway. Moreover, is difficult to find HQP with the skills and professional experience required.

Potential for learning or transfer

The call for proposals might be interesting for other regions because it is a new and innovative supporting instrument for SMEs, in particular in regard to the introduction of the hiring of the personnel (according to the de minimis Regulation).
It does not require a high bureaucratic effort in terms of reporting for both the SMEs and the Autonomous Province of Bolzano.

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Project
Main institution
Bolzano County
Location
Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
October 2014
End Date
Ongoing

Contact

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Good Practices being followed by

Angelina Todorova

Fund Manager of Financial Instruments in Bulgaria