Project summary

Industry 4.0 (I4.0) affects innovation activities of companies throughout Europe to a dynamically increasing extent. Failing to turn production or service provision adapted to I4.0 results in losing clients and markets. In our project it will be primarily SMEs that we intend to assist so that they can better address the challenges this new paradigm imposes to increase their competitiveness. Partners’ experience suggests that policy instruments (PIs) targeted to SME innovation often struggle to support I4.0 related projects efficiently. With 8 partners from 5 regions INNOPROVEMENT aims at improving SME PIs targeting innovation activities and adapting them to requirements set by I4.0. This overall objective will increase the share and number of SMEs successfully implementing I4.0 related innovation projects in the partners’ regions and countries. 7 thematic issues will be explored by partners through intense experience exchange:

  1. Innovation in software development;
  2. Effectiveness of public money used to support industrial R&D under I4.0;
  3. Introducing I4.0 to traditional industries;
  4. Definition of I4.0 public policy initiatives;
  5. Adjusting calls to I4.0 requirements;
  6. Market price assessment methodologies;
  7. Definition of an I4.0 maturity evaluation matrix.

Sharing transferable good practices from these 7 thematic issues will be central among project activities. Using the outcomes partners will elaborate action plans to improve their PIs. Improvements of the addressed PIs (mainly calls for proposals) will take place primarily at the level of management of the instruments. The composition of the partnership contributes substantially to durability of project results since the 7 action plans will be elaborated by MAs and IBs directly responsible for the management of the addressed PIs. INNOPROVEMENT’s approach ensures 4 levels of learning. The project lies on a sound project management and implements a targeted communication strategy.


from 1 Jun 2018
to 31 May 2023

Research and innovation

What will this project change?



What policy instruments does the project address?

Priority Axis 2 (PA2, “Research, Technology development and Innovation”) of the Economic Development and Innovation OP (EDIOP) contributes to the strategic objective of the OP, which is increasing the competitiveness of the domestic SMEs. PA2 aims at utilising the potential of R&D and technological innovation through winding up bottlenecks hindering R&I activities of companies and through intensifying technology transfer mechanisms. The S3 approach identified focal points to support under PA2. One of the 3 national specialisations of the Hungarian S3 is intelligent manufacturing, which is directly related to the thematic specialisation of INNOPROVEMENT. Through entrepreneurial discovery process a number of research areas have been determined including ICT and services, intelligent technologies etc. Under PA2, Measure 2.1 addresses R&I activities of enterprises. Specific objectives of the measure: prototype, product, technology and service improvement of companies, particularly SMEs building on Hungarian research results; support to cooperation of enterprises and research centres; building an innovation ecosystem favouring startups and spinoffs etc. The measure is implemented through open calls for proposals. The calls are designed and implemented

with ‘a traditional approach’ to innovation activities, which results in underperformance. Therefore the measure and specifically its calls should be improved to better serve beneficiaries with projects related to Industry 4.0.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Prime Minister's Office (until 25/05/2022 Ministry of Finance)

The Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness (OPEIC) 2014–2020 is a document prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in collaboration with partners, which sets objectives and priorities for the effective use of the European Regional Development Fund. The main goals of OPEIC relevant to the project’s topic are i) Raising the number of businesses capable of extending the technological boundaries of their industry, ii) Facilitating the development of entrepreneurship, services and access to government services. Funding priorities relevant to the project include « Research and innovation system based on a high-quality research interconnected with the application sphere and targeted at commercialisable results » and «Businesses that use R&D results, are competitive on the global market and contribute to a low-carbon economy ». The specific objectives of the OPEIC concerned are primarily in the first Priority Axis Promotion of research and development for innovation, namely SO 1.1 Increasing innovation performance of enterprises and Priority Axis 4 Specific objectives 4.2 Increasing the utilization of the ICT sector potential for the competitiveness of the economy. The implementation of OPEIC needs to be built on quality analytical tools, which can help better formulate the specific condition for the supported activities, market price assessment and eligibility of cost in the calls for proposal.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Ministry of Industry and Trade CR

Regional Operation Programme of Thessaly 20142020, Axis 1 “Strengthening the competitiveness and extroversion of enterprises (particularly SMEs), transition to qualitative entrepreneurship, spearheaded with the innovation and growth of Regional Value Added“. Priority 1b. refers to the establishment and operation of a mechanism at the regional level, knowledge transfer and mobilization of business (existing and new) for participation in innovation programs with a view to integrating technological and non-technological innovation results for sustainability and their development, in connection with both the research participants from the region and with any other relevant actor who satisfies their needs. The planning and operation of concerned measure is governed by the RIS3 Thessaly and the funding will go progressively reduced in order to remain ultimately as a self-financing mechanism for sustainable development. The concerned measure is implemented through open calls for proposals. The calls are designed and implemented with ‘a traditional approach’ to innovation activities, which results in underperformance. Therefore the measure and specifically its calls should be improved to better serve beneficiaries with projects related to Industry 4.0.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Region of Thessaly

In Marche Region, the industrial system is characterized by a modest expenditure on research and development. The structural change, which Marche Region intends to implement with the policy instrument concerns the approach to innovation processes in companies. The regional government wants to make it more structured and systematic in order to support permanently the competitive position of the local economy on national and international markets. In other words, this instrument intends to increase innovative content of economic activities: innovation applied to production of goods and services. The realization of this goal requires the adoption of an approach combining actions diffusion oriented, aimed to spread the highest technological standards within a wide audience of beneficiaries, with those missions oriented, aimed at achieving progress on the level of technological frontier through selected and more ambitious research projects. In both cases, it will be necessary to encourage a greater number of SMEs to overcome the traditional resistance to collaborative processes with other public and private research actors, acquiring qualified staff, in particular researchers. The Action 1.3 topics are implemented through targeted calls addressed to SMEs. Considering the modest expenditure and attention on research and development in Marche Region, it is necessary to improve and foresee more specific calls, especially with projects related to Industry 4.0.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Marche Region

Investment Priority and Thematic Objective: Investment Priority 3.3 of the Thematic Objective 3 of the Competitiveness and Internationalization Operational Programme. Main characteristics: support to projects aiming technological, organisational and marketing innovation, applying new methods and processes, as well as raising flexibility and competitiveness in the global market; specifically regarding I4.0, the mentioned schemes intend to promote cooperation between higher education institutions, companies and other entities of the national innovation system, aiming at the valorization and transfer of technology, the qualification of human resources and the development of new areas of competence (such as I4.0), where digital transformation will enable disruptive changes in business models, products, and production processes, aiming to respond to the challenges posed by the rapid technological evolution, flexibility and integration of SMEs in international value chains. With the INNOPROVEMENT project, the MA of COMPETE 2020 intends to improve the calls for proposals for the mentioned schemes, with the overall objective of targeting innovation activities which are based on or can be adapted to the requirements set by Industry 4.0.

Which partners are working on this?
  • COMPETE 2020 Management Authority for the Competitiveness and Internacionality Operational Programme

As part of Priority Axis II (Innovative and competitive economy) of the ROP for Lodzkie Region 2014 - 2020, activities have been included in the framework of the Investment Priority 3c: Supporting the creation and the extension of advanced capacities for product and service development. SMEs will be direct recipients of support provided in the scope of this investment priority. The intervention is aimed primarily at investments leading to the reinforcement of the development capacity of companies and placement of high quality products and services on the market. Support is granted to investments connected with the development of SMEs, transformation of the production process, modification of the method of providing services or organizational changes. The instrument should be carefully examined and improved to be more attractive to beneficiaries and comply with new solutions in the European and regional level concerning Industry 4.0. It is dedicated to innovative area, that is why up-to-date knowledge and state-of-the-art solutions are crucial. The issues addressed by this policy instrument in the region have been diagnosed and described in the Regional Innovation Strategy for the Lodzkie Region – LORIS 2030. The essence of RIS LORIS 2030 Action is to support development of entrepreneurship, strengthening cooperation of enterprises (in particular SMEs), research institutes, business environment institutions and administration.

Which partners are working on this?

Sustainable growth and jobs 2014 ­ 2020 ­ Finland's structural funds programme has 5 priority axes and 13 specific objectives (Total budget 2,598,922,190 €). Kainuu, NUTS3 has an ESIF budget ERDF 20 million€ (9€ for support to SMEs, 11m€ production of new knowledge) and 12 m€ ESF (6m€ for education and skills), (both from INNO PROVEMENT’s focus is relevant to ESIF’s thematic objectives (TOs) TO1, TO3, and TO10. TO1: Investments promoting R&I activities; especially in growth companies and start-ups in chosen smart specialization fields; ~24% of programme is dedicated to TO1. TO1 is related to the small gaming cluster in Kainuu that can become part of Industry 4.0 service providers. 2) TO3: Improving the competitiveness of SMEs (~20% of the total OP allocations). The investments aim at diversifying business structures and increase the number of growing, innovative and internationally expanding companies, through, e.g. new business operations. TO3 is the main area relevant to the project relating to the metallurgical and wooden construction industries. TO10 is dedicated to Education and training, with 12% of the OP resources dedicated to investments in (among others) reinforcing the professional knowledge, innovative abilities and creative skills of the workforce. TO10 is relevant to the project because, as Industry 4.0 is not yet strongly disseminated in Kainuu, issues of skills and education will need to be part of the action plan.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Regional Council of Kainuu