Regional Call for S3 Projects – setting a regional portfolio of innovation projects, so increase the innovation performance of North-East Romania
To implement the S3 strategy, NE RDA periodically organizes regional calls for S3 projects (3 eds.: 2017, 2018, 2020). In 2020, for the first time, the call included a distinct measure for R&I infrastructure, besides the one for collaborative projects between research and industry.
Call objective: to help promoters to develop their innovation project ideas, so to successfully apply to regional, national or international funding. In particular, the initiative supports the implementation of the priority axes for innovation from ROP 2014-2020 and NE Romania’s ROP 2021-2027.
Challenges addressed: the low performance of the regional innovation eco-system, NE Romania being an Emerging Innovator (cf. Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2021); the low supply of technology transfer and technology information in the region; the low number of research-industry partnerships.
By this call, NE RDA:
• provides technical assistance to selected projects that fall within the requirements of ROP 2021-2027, helping promoters to develop their project ideas and prepare the corresponding funding applications.
• organizes Project Development Laboratories, where promoters of the other selected projects are put in direct contact with potential funders.
Results: innovation projects generated, submitted, and implemented by a variety of organizations from North-East Romania, in a coordinated manner.
Main beneficiaries: companies, R&I organizations, Universities, Technology Transfer Entities.

Resources needed

This initiative is designed and implemented by North-East RDA, with the involvement of the Sectoral Specialisation Office and RIS3 Management Office (a total of 10 experts). The regional call for S3 projects is aimed to identify project ideas and support their maturation; this is not a call for fund

Evidence of success

Based on 2017 and 2018 exercises, NERDA and ROP 2014-2020 Managing Authority designed a new ROP call for collaborative S3 projects (11 submitted; 3 contracted; EUR 4.7 MM total)
Call 3 (2020; more rigorous procedure): 85/118 proposals included in RIS3 Portfolio (21 RDI infrastructure projects; 64 for economic activity), EUR 729 MM total. A Technical Assistance tool was used by NE RDA, to fund 13 infrastructure project documentations (EUR 1.61 MM total grant, for EUR 136.6 MM investment value)

Difficulties encountered

A large number of project ideas does not mean a large number of successful applications. To achieve the latter, NERDA will have to provide more support for project development. Promoters, too, should improve their know-how on IPR and on the transition of research results to the market.

Potential for learning or transfer

This practice might be of interest to other regions for the identification of innovative projects, for designing related support activities, and for generating synergies between various actions. A regional call for S3 projects may also offer an image of stakeholders’ interest in R&I development. That might be helpful in setting the funding terms and conditions under various operational programs addressing innovation, also in reducing the duration of the evaluation process by adapting the application forms and procedure according to the inputs collected through the S3 call.
For example, a call under Priority 1 of North-East ROP 2021-2027 can be better designed drawing on the project proposals submitted by the regional R&I organizations to the 2020 S3 call and included in RIS3 North-East Portfolio.
Main institution
Regional Development Agency North-East
Nord-Est, Romania (România)
Start Date
April 2017
End Date
December 2020


Please login to contact the author.