Innovation and knowledge development

Priority 1: Cooperating on innovation to make CENTRAL EUROPE more competitive

Under this priority, the Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Programme addresses key socio-economic challenges and needs within central Europe that are related to smart growth as defined in the Europe 2020 Strategy. It aims at more effective investment in research, innovation and education. The programme will help strengthening potentials of technology-oriented areas that are destinations of foreign investments and capital flows, notably through better linking actors of innovation systems. This will enhance the transfer of research and development (R&D) results and the set-up of cooperative initiatives and clusters. It will also address regional disparities in knowledge and education such as brain drain, and strengthen capacities and competences for entrepreneurship and social innovation, also responding to challenges related to demographic change. The financial allocation to this priority is around EUR 69 million ERDF. Projects to be funded will have to tackle one of the two specific objectives (SO) formulated under this priority:

Specific objective 1.1: To improve sustainable linkages among actors of the innovation systems for strengthening regional innovation capacity in central Europe

This will be achieved through transnational and internationalised regional networks and clusters fostering technology transfer and the development and implementation of new services supporting innovation in businesses. Increased cooperation between actors of the innovation systems, especially between business and research, will improve access to research results for enterprises, notably SMEs, thus stimulating further investment in innovation. Furthermore, the link between research and public administration will be strengthened (e.g. by setting up specific mechanisms and promoting public procurement of innovation) which could positively contribute to both economic and social innovation transfer. 

Specific objective 1.2: To improve skills and entrepreneurial competences for advancing economic and social innovation in central European regions

By stimulating mutual exchange and learning, transnational cooperation will help to increase skills of employees and entrepreneurs for applying novel technologies and methods. This will enable enterprises (especially SMEs) to develop and implement innovative products, services and/or processes contributing to the respective regional smart specialisation strategies. Innovative learning systems, jointly developed at transnational level, can contribute to the targeted improvement of skills thus increasing regional competitiveness especially in regions facing social challenges. Joint approaches developed transnationally will further support entrepreneurship by building technological and managerial competences as well as promoting entrepreneurial mind sets and initiatives. Next to merely economically driven innovation the improvement of skills and the fostering of entrepreneurship should contribute to advancing social innovation. This will allow for meeting social needs and will further improve the capacities of regions to manage new challenges such as those deriving from demographic change, migration and brain drain.