Between 2014 and 2020, COMPETE 2020 designed a set of new instruments to increase the internationalisation of R&D&I and to promote synergies between funds.
Given the low level participation of Portugal in European networks and the low capacity to attract money from European Programmes, Compete 2020 designed a set of new instruments to promote R&D&I internationalisation. Funding Seals of Excellence and supporting the preparation of applications to H2020 were some of the solutions adopted. These instruments were also able to promote synergies between funds, by funding the Portuguese participation in European networks (using ERDF).
Inst. 1) Incentives to support R&D Projects at the European Scale, to co-finance the national counterpart of regional actors’ participation in European R&D projects (mainly Eureka and Eurostars); 3 calls launched; beneficiaries were companies and entities from the research and innovation system.
Inst. 2) Incentives to support the preparation of companies’ applications to H2020; 2 calls launched.
Inst. 3) Incentives to support companies that applied to the European SME Instrument - Phase 2 and did not get any funding but obtained a Seal of Excellence; 2 calls launched.
Inst. 4) Incentives to R&TD International Partnerships, to promote the creation of partnerships between Portuguese Universities/ research centres/ companies and American universities; 1 call launched.
Inst. 5) Incentives to R&TD International Partnerships, to support the development of new collaborative projects, involving Portuguese companies and Polytechnic Institutes and other European Polytechnic Institutes; 1 call launched.
In Portugal, altogether, these calls had a budget of around 104M€, and more than 70M€ were approved (in a total of 113 projects). Calls within these instruments can be open with the budget considered most suitable in each specific case and depending on the funds available.
Evidence of success
Instrument 1: 53 applications; 47 projects approved; budget of 27M€; more than 19M€ of incentives approved.
Instrument 2: 6 applications; 6 projects approved; more than 202.000€ approved.
Instrument 3: 28 applications; 16 projects approved; more than 12M€ approved.
Instrument 4: 40 applications; 30 projects approved; more than 29M€ approved.
Instrument 5: 20 applications; 14 projects approved; close to 9M€ approved.
Due to the novelty, the budget of the first calls of some these instruments were not completely absorbed but an effort of promotion before the target beneficiaries allowed for a significant increase.
Potential for learning or transfer
The cooperation among stakeholders from different regions requires the exchange of practices and the joint development of knowledge and technologies. Thus, the participation in different European programmes and networks is a process that must be stimulated to increase the competitiveness of a region. To support stakeholders’ involvement in these programmes and networks it is important to have in place a set of simple mechanisms/instruments which are possible even with the current regulatory framework.
Calls from the instruments presented in this good practice were made available publicly and can serve as an inspiration for many other regions that are now preparing the new programming period - planning R&D&I internationalisation and cooperation processes should be a priority. These calls were funded by ESIF and any other region with European Funds available can use the same model as a basis. These type of calls can also be funded through regional/national funds.
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