Project summary

Context: address the societal challenge of ageing society and to demonstrate that thermalism could be, by introducing innovative cures and care solutions, a sector having a huge potential in making healthcare more efficient. Healthy lifestyle and prevention are supposed to be more and more relevant making wider the target group perspective for the territories.


Partnership: 8 partners (1 Association, 3 Universities, 3 Regional Development Agencies and 1 Innovation centre) from 8 countries (FR, HU, LV, PL, RO, LT, PT, SI). When relevant, authorities in charge of targeted policies are committed to provide their support. Relevant stakeholders within each area will be strongly involved in the exchange of experience at interregional level and planned adaptation of policy instruments.



Improve policies aiming at supporting knowledge transfer and strengthening opportunities for open innovation between the triple helix partners in the field of preventative health and thermalism in order to accelerate the launch on the market of innovative solutions for developing healthy lifestyle.



Three-steps approach in Phase 1. Interregional exchange of experiences in that field and subsequent introduction into their policies of innovative health solutions for thermal spa regions (final purpose under Phase 2).


Main activities and outputs

8 policy instruments are addressed (1 per region), all related to structural funds programmes. Basis for exchange of experience: Reciprocal improvement analysis and 8 study visits. Newsletters and final dissemination event for an effective dissemination towards other territories in Europe.


Main expected results

At least 16 good practices identified, 8 targeted policy instruments improved, 16 staff members will transfer new capacities in their intervention fields, 50 involved stakeholders with increased skills and knowledge from exchange of experience. Expected 20 articles in press including at EU level.


from 1 Jun 2018
to 30 Nov 2022

Research and innovation

What policy instruments does the project address?

The main objective of the ROP is to improve economic competitiveness and social cohesion within the Auvergne region.

Under the Axis 1 "Strengthening research, technological development and innovation " the investment priorities concerned by the project will be Investment priority 1b promoting business R&I investment, product and service development, technology transfer, social innovation and public service applications, demand stimulation, networking, clusters and open innovation through smart specialisation, with the Specific objective: Increase the number of innovative and collaborative projects implemented by the regional SME’s in the field of Smart Specialisation Strategy by the support of research projects, technology transfers and collaborative projects between searchers and SME’s and by the support of the public/private partnerships.

The first strategic objective of the Smart Specialisation Strategy of the Auvergne region is Preventative health and patients’ well-being. And the first Strategic Business Areas (SBA) of this strategic objective is “Accelerate the putting on the market of goods and services related to preventative health and well-being”.

 The policy instrument adressed concerns the territory of Auvergne. The territory of application is also the territory of Auvergne even if the new region is the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Thermauvergne association

The main priorities to mention according to the support of the topic of the Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme (GINOP) of Hungary is Axis 2. Research, technological development and innovation - NEC4.1. Improvement of R+I activity product, technology and service developement innovation ecosystem. The region needs a better process for integrated policy development in which health prevention and thermalism are taken into account. Only then societal challenges like healthy ageing can be tackled better and new innovative business development can be supported together with the project of the University of Debrecen and its public/private partners, which is the creation of Thermal based health industry economic zone totally in line with the priority of the National Smart Specialization Strategy titled "Healthy society and wellbeing" and the Europe2020 for a healthier EU programme.

Special economic zones – connecting to the RIS3 – are not directly among the priorities now, that is why a development is required.

Which partners are working on this?
  • University of Debrecen

The Latvian Operational Programme ''Growth and Employment'' (OP) aims at achieving key national development priorities along with the "Europe 2020" objectives. By combining support from the ERDF, the CF, the ESF and the specific allocation for the YEI, the OP will provide a significant support to the economic growth and employment, with a particular focus on the competitiveness of Latvia's economy.

The priority Axis 1 supports RTD and innovation in Latvia. In particular, the OP contribution is expected to increase Latvia's innovation potential by having the share of innovative SMEs increased to 40%. Latvian OP (2014-2020) underlines the importance of spa and preventative health care development, which is also underlined by the Latvian National Development Plan (2014-2020) and reflected in several strategic documents, such as Development strategy of medical tourism in Latvia.

The ERDF support should help to ensure valuable use of the preventative health and thermal offer by implementing in the national level of Latvia the measures for the promotion of Latvia as an international and local health prevention and health destination. There is a potential for the development of thermal resorts and new health offers in Latvia.

Which partners are working on this?
  • University of Latvia

The analysis of the Regional Operational Programme of Warmia and Mazury 2014-2020 supports research and innovation activities, particularly, the Priority 1 linked to the Thematic objective 1 ‘Strengthening research, technological development and innovation’ . The measures that should be improved are related to spa infrastructure, packaging of products and services and active and healthy ageing.

Warmia and Mazury Regional Development Agency (WMRDA) would like to pay more attention to preventative health and thermalism in the Regional Operational Programme of Warmia and Mazury 2014-2020. Warmia and Mazury is called “polish green lungs” and „land of 1000 lakes”, has places with unique microclimate and mud decks. In recent years, many spa centers have been established to offer rehabilitation, slimming and health care courses at the highest level. The unique microclimate, the cleanest air in Poland in Gołdap Sanatorium, as well as the infrastructure give the region the opportunity to develop in this direction.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Warmia and Mazury Regional Development Agency JSC in Olsztyn

The Regional Operational Program (ROP) 2014 – 2020 is an Investment for Growth and Jobs Program in Romania, financed by the European Commission from the European Structural and Investment Funds, respectively the European Regional Development Fund. ROP 2014-2020 aims at promoting smart sustainable and inclusive growth in all regions in Romania making them more attractive places in which to live and work. The programme addresses the major development challenges for Romania: regional competitiveness, sustainable urban development, the low-carbon economy, and economic and social infrastructure at regional and local level.

 Within this project, the Regional Development Agency Centru (RDA Centru) will address ROP 2014-2020, Priority Axis 1 (PA1) – “Promoting technology transfer”.

PA 1 corresponds to the thematic objective 01 – “Strengthening research, technological development and innovation”.

RDA Centru would like to set-up the suitable environment for the local SMEs active in the health and thermalism sectors to develop through innovation. The major focus is therefore to address bottlenecks to innovation and increase investment in business research and development through close collaboration between public and private actors in the field of health, preventative health and thermalism sectors.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Regional Development Agency Centru

Investment priority concerned - PRIORITY AXIS 1 - STRENGTHENING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION, INVESTMENT PRIORITY 1.2 of Lithuanian OP - Promoting business investment in R&I, developing links and synergies between enterprises, research and development centres and the higher education sector, in particular promoting investment in product and service development, technology transfer, social innovation, eco-innovation, public service applications, demand stimulation, networking, clusters and open innovation through smart specialisation, and supporting technological and applied research, pilot lines, early product validation actions, advanced manufacturing capabilities and first production, in particular in key enabling technologies and diffusion of general purpose technologies.

This policy instrument does not currently include the specific focus on preventative health and thermalism issues. It lays the basis for some of the areas being analysed in the project (cooperation, open innovation), but it is not explicit in its support for the preventative health and thermalism issues angle. The Lithuanian Innovation Centre and the Managing Authority feel that the preventative health and thermalism issues angle could generate more impact in relation to invested capital.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Lithuanian Innovation Centre

Norte 2020 is composed of an integrated set of priorities and funding instruments addressing the main challenges and opportunities of Portugal’s Norte region.

The Life and Health Sciences priority is concerned. The goal is to strengthen the articulation between, on the one hand, regional research on tissue engineering, cancer, neuroscience and surgical techniques and, on the other hand, industries and services in the health sector (e.g. pharmaceuticals, medical devices, health services, health and wellness tourism, and cosmetics).

Improved policies and facilitation of triple-helix cooperation will promote the creation and development of innovative startups, health prevention new products and services. Encouraging smart investments in health care and thermalism will also facilitate the improvement in the health industry.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto

The first priority of the Slovenian Operational Programme for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy in the period 2014-2020 “International competitiveness of research, innovation and technological development in line with smart specialisation for enhanced competitiveness and greening of the economy" will be improved. The policy instrument will be implemented in consistence with “Slovenia’s Smart Specialisation Strategy”. The project will contribute to priority area Health - Medicine: objective “enhance the development of new product directions related to natural substances and spa tourism (natural medicines, dermatological cosmetics and cell therapeutics and rehabilitation)”.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Development Agency of Savinjska Region