IMPROVE project brings together partners from 8 regions with the aim to improve the management and implementation of Structural Funds Programmes in the participating regions and cities. During the last six months the exchange of experiences has continued through online Peer Reviews and interregional thematic workshop hosted by Cluj-Napoca and ARTI. Meetings took place in online format due to the pandemic situation in Europe. Also as a new communication tool overview templates were conducted by each partner and published on project website.

The Peer review meeting of Cluj-Napoca within the IMPROVE project was organized by North-West Regional Development Agency between 14 –15 September 2021. The main purpose of the meeting was to share with the other partners involved in the project the good practices identified in the region.

The 1st session was dedicated to the economic profile of the region and the two programming periods of the Regional Operational Program (ROP) 2014-2020 and 2021-2027. The session included overview of the North-West region followed by a brief presentation of the Policy Instrument: Regional Operational Program 2014-2020, Priority Axis 1. The experts from the Smart Specialization department, presented the lessons learnt from the previous programming period (2014-2020) an also the new approach for the next programming period (2021-2027). Session 2 was dedicated for the Regional State of the Art Report of the North-West region and also for sharing with the other partners the good practices identified.

The 3rd session began with a presentation held by the external expert, regarding the main element of each good practice identified. Later on, there were group discussions on two important topics related to what ideas/approaches are of interest to the partner regions and can be transferred as well as how can the North-West regional innovation ecosystem benefit from the experiences of other partners/new approach solutions?

The second meeting of the semester was divided into Puglia region`s workshop and Peer review sessions organized by ARTI. Monitoring, evaluation and policies for research, development and technological innovation are the three keypoints of ARTI`s workshop. Monitoring for learning from past experiences and improving, by creating synergies among measures for research and innovation in regional policies. 

A particular interest was aroused among the participants in the monitoring system of the Smart Specialization Strategy in Puglia, presented by Jennifer Grisorio, Improve project manager for ARTI, a series of questionnaires proposed through a web interface to the beneficiaries of the measures. during the request for participation and at the end of the same, to evaluate the impacts of the policies. Also the role of monitoring and stakeholder involvement in the new smart specialization strategy for the next Community programming (2021 - 2027) of the Structural Funds was considered particularly interesting for the participants.