Today during the Smart Regions conference, the European Commission is launching the Smart Specialisation Platform for Industrial Modernisation.
This new initiative offers hands-on support to regions to foster interregional cooperation based on matching smart specialisation priorities related to industrial modernisation - such as Key Enabling Technologies, service innovation or resource efficiency. It will be hosted by the European Commission's Smart Specialisation Platform located in Seville.
The aim of this initiative is to create an investment pipeline of mature projects in new growth areas across the EU, by providing tailored advice and helping regions establish links with the business and research communities.
The platform could help regions develop or share infrastructure such as testing facilities, pilot plants, data centres, and Fab-Labs.
Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: "Regions with similar competitive industrial assets and investment priorities will be able to work together on innovative projects that will benefit European growth. This initiative will also help them fully seize the investment opportunities provided by the ESI Funds, with over €120 billion to be invested in smart growth over 2014-2020."
Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "Industrial modernisation needs to happen at a regional level, but regions need to join forces. The Smart Specialisation Platform on Industrial Modernisation will help EU regions roll out industrial investment projects for jobs, growth and competitiveness."
Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said:"The Smart Specialisation Platform for Industrial Modernisation builds on a thorough mapping of regional strengths and priorities done by our experts in close collaboration with authorities on the ground. I am convinced that this solid evidence will help to achieve the platform's aim of promoting common investment projects and industrial modernisation in EU regions.”
Particular support will be given to regions to combine different EU investment instruments, such as the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds, COSME, Horizon2020 and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan.
Smart specialisation is an innovative approach promoting efficient and targeted use of public investment in research and innovation to enable countries and regions to capitalize on their strengths and create new competitive advantages. National and regional smart specialisation strategies serve as compasses for ESI Funds investments in research and innovation.
135 regions indicated industrial modernisation-related priorities as one of their key investment areas under smart specialisation, thus highlighting the enormous potential for joint projects.
The first thematic Smart Specialisation Platform was set up in 2015 to foster interregional cooperation in the field of energy. Another thematic platform on agri-food will be launched today; others will be established in the near future. The Platforms, managed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, provide expertise, advice and networking opportunities through workshops and seminars.