Supporting R&D activities, with a high level of innovativeness, for the development of new technologies, new products and services
For the implementation of the Smart specialization Strategy, Clusters have a relevant role enabling cooperation among small medium enterprises (SMEs) and giving technical support to SMEs’ Research and development (R&D) activities.
The practice consists of public calls, both for cluster’s associated members and not associated (committed to enter the clusters), financing Industrial research and/or experimental development projects, with a prevalent component of research compared to the development component and a Technological readiness level of 4 that reaches at least 7 by the end of the activities, excluding the production phase.
The challenges that have triggered the introduction of this practice are:
- fostering cooperative industrial research and experimental development projects among SMEs
- increasing the number of cluster’s associated members
- encouraging SMEs cooperation with Universities and Research centres as providers of high qualified services.
Projects have to be related to the priorities of RIS3 and the thematic areas of the Strategic Agenda of the Cluster Management organizations. Not associated members of the clusters shall follow the same rules and be committed to enter the cluster in case of financing.
Projects shall have a high level of innovativeness.

Resources needed

50 M€ for R&D projects funded under the ROP-ERDF 2014-2020
Estimated human resources needed are approximately 6 persons to set up and 30 to run the practice.

Evidence of success

Two calls lunched: Line A for associated members – with 35 M€ (113 submitted projects, 73 financed projects, 215 enterprises involved, 49,8 M€ overall investments, 23,7 M€ of public grants); Line B for not associated members - with 15M€ (53 submitted projects, 34 financed projects, 68 enterprises involved, 21,2 M€ overall investments, 9,3 M€ of public grants).
The calls produced 137 (93 Line A and 44 Line B) contracts with R.O. equal to 20M€ (13M€ Line A and 7M€ line B) and participation of 57

Difficulties encountered

Difficulties encountered have been: Low propensity of SMEs to cooperate among them;SMEs difficulties to access to high qualified services provided by research organizations;Participation of Research organizations not as project partner but as services providers

Potential for learning or transfer

This practice can be potentially interesting for other regions that need to support Research & Innovation activities developed by SMEs, inspiring public authorities to introduce in cluster policies measures to financially support associated members of the clusters for Research and Innovation activity and attract new members in the cluster.
This practice can support and boost SMEs development, allowing them to undertake research projects, access to high qualified research services from universities and research organisations.
Main institution
Piedmont region
Piemonte, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
October 2016
End Date
February 2018


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