The European Commission has launched the first call for projects for the new Interregional Innovation Investment instrument (called I3). This is a new funding instrument for 2021-2027 that allocates €570 million to support the commercialisation and scaling up of interregional innovation projects in shared smart specialisation priority areas. It will encourage the development of European value chains with a strong cohesion dimension as at least half of its budget will be dedicated to less developed regions.
I3 is built on the experience of the interregional pilot actions and it benefits from the Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) under Cohesion policy. It is implemented under direct management by the European Innovation Council and SME executive agency (EISMEA').
The I3 will support partnerships coming from the quadruple helix, by including researchers, businesses, civil society and public administrations to identify and refine common areas of investment. Synergies with actions under Horizon Europe and the Single Market programme will also be supported. The first I3 call for proposals worth €145 million and will cover the years 2021 and 2022.
I3 calls for projects have two strands:
• Strand 1 - Financial and advisory support for investments in interregional innovation projects
For mature partnerships to help them accelerate market uptake and scale-up of innovative solutions in shared smart specialisation priority areas, as well as to develop a portfolio of investment projects. Collaboration between more developed regions and less developed ones is encouraged under this strand. The strand is particularly geared towards small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups that often lack resources to test their ideas, concepts and innovation.
• Strand 2 - Financial and advisory support to the development of value chains in less developed regions
For emerging partnerships to help them accelerate market uptake and scale-up of innovative solutions in shared smart specialisation priority areas, as well as to develop a portfolio of investment projects. This strand aims at increasing, in particular, the capacity of regional innovation ecosystems in less developed regions to participate in global value chains, as well as the capacity to participate in partnerships with other regions.
The S3P Traceability & Big Data in the agrifood value chain will promote and encourage the creation of consortiums to apply on the current and future I3 calls, in those areas related to interesting topics covered by our Partnership.
An Info Day will be organised on 9 December 2021 for all interested stakeholders.