A new governance for the RIS3 priorities in Centre-Val de Loire thanks to the Beyond EDP Project

2021 is the start of the new programming period for the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). For the Centre-Val de Loire as well as for the other European regions, this time is also dedicated to the design of the new ERDF Operational Program and its corollary, the new Regional Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation. The participation of Dev'up the Regional Economic Development Agency in the Interreg Europe project "Beyond EDP" as lead partner allowed it to provide the regional specialisation strategy with a broad and inclusive governance, based on the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP), a guarantee that the interests of entrepreneurs will be considered in this public innovation policy.

Since 2014, the Centre-Val de Loire region has resolutely pursued a policy of specialisation, enabling it to strengthen its skills and strengths in a limited number of areas. These are at the crossroads between research and development and economic sectors with the capacity to integrate the results of this R&D in the form of innovation and economic development.

In 2018 and thanks to its participation in the "Beyond EDP" project, Dev'up, which works on behalf of the State and the Region in the design and implementation of RIS3, has proposed to adapt good practices identified among some of its consortium partners to improve one of the aspects of RIS3 governance: the animation of RIS3 priorities.

Thus, they retained four Good Practices from their European counterparts: The Governance of the RIS3 priorities and the ESBR model from Ostergötland in Sweden, the coordination of the Lead Market work groups from Saxony Anhalt in Germany, the management of working groups as part of the RIS3 governance model from Extremadura in Spain and the EDP Governance Structures implemented in Umbria (Italy) through five thematic working groups. All of these good practices place the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process in the heart of the coordination of their RIS3 priorities. Indeed, the involvement of the regional stakeholders from the quadruple helix (the entrepreneurs, the researchers, the people from institutions and the civil society) is a guarantee of success so that the priorities chosen are in line with the real assets of the field and the needs of these entrepreneurs, but above all so that the action programmes decided by the public authorities find an operational resonance that is translated into innovation projects.

Thus, the Centre-Val de Loire Policy Makers decided to take the opportunity of the state-led reform of the competitiveness clusters (conducted in 2018 by the State in relation with the Regions) to involve them more in the coordination of the RIS3 priorities. Alongside the State and Regional referents and the coordinators from Dev'up, the cluster team will act as project managers within each RIS3 priority coordination committee.

Of course, entrepreneurs and people from the world of research and training complete these steering committees.

These committees, which were officially set up in the summer of 2020, began to work hard despite the situation linked to the pandemic.... with success. After several working meetings they took stock of the actions carried out during the previous period (2014-2020) to propose an action plan for 2021-2027 for each of the RIS3 measures.

These action plans have been shared and validated by the Regional Strategic Innovation Committee, which is co-chaired by the Prefect and the President of the Region and in which the major players in the RDI ecosystem participate.

These priority steering committees are now part of the governance of the RIS3 of the Centre-Val de Loire 2021-2027. They will be responsible for coordinating and monitoring these priorities.

This is an important guarantee of the success of the implementation of European funds in the region, especially as this shared governance through the business discovery process is considered to be an enabling condition for the deployment of the ERDF by the European Commission.