Project summary

In the current European context, SMEs located far from urban areas meet the challenge not only to grow but also to survive. The improvement of their innovation capacity is essential to promote the regional economical development and to fight against rural exodus. By helping rural SMEs to consolidate themselves to overcome of the barriers to their growth and competitiveness is a challenge for the regional innovation policies. The RATIO aims to identify the innovative potential of these companies and help them to grow and expand their activities through: a learning process to implement and manage innovation This must be done by creating effective exchange of experiences in supporting cluster cooperation and international alliances, netwotks and clusters. This exchange of experiences among regional actors will be followed by the transfer of the lesson learnt to the regional programmes. The project will contribute to reinforce the innovation culture in the region boosting innovative ecosystems where actors (regional and local authorities and innovation partners) and stakeholders (associations, academia, regional governments…) can work together in the Action plan to reach the needed policy change for the consolidation of innovative companies in non metropolitan areas.


from 1 Apr 2016
to 31 Mar 2020

Research and innovation

Regional innovation policies changes

  • ERDF Regional operative programme ROP of Aragón, priority Axis 1.B (1.2.1) Boost and promotion of research and innovatiion activities leading by companies and support of the creation and consolidation of innovative companies
  • Operational Programmes of Saxony and Innovation Strategy of the Freestate Saxony
  • Development Programme of Ústí Region 2014 2020
  • Strategic Programme Regional Innovation Strategy for the Małopolska Region for 20142020, Axis 2.Creating demand for innovation
  • Operational programme Growth and employment 2014 2020 of Latvia: Priority Axis 1. Development and innovation of research, technology : Thematic objective 1.Strengthening research, technological development and innovation:Specific objective 1.2.1.: To promote investments of private sector in R&D
  • Competitiveness and Internationalization Operational Programme of Portugal
  • ERDF Regional Operative Programme (ROP) Lazio 20142020 Thematic Objective 1.b Promotion of R&I investments for enterprises developing synergies and connections between enterprises, research centers and universities
  • Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly Operational Programme 2014 – 2020 (Ireland) Priority 3: SME Support, Promotion and Capability Development

What policy instruments does the project address?

The priority axis of the Regional Operational Programme of Aragón addresses the Europe 2020 objectives, particularly emphasizing Research development and innovation area, where Aragón has a “follower” position due to its low investment in this priority field:0,9% of the regional GDP against the 2% of the EU27. Although the efforts in RDI are mainly done by the private sector, the participation, promotion and facilitator role from the regional public services is needed. More than 80% of the ERDF budget in Aragon is addressed to supporting innovation and I+D, the digital agenda, the competitiveness of SMEs and the change to a low carbon economy. In this sense, the RIS3 for Aragón has as main objective the consolidation of a medium and long term sustainable system of growth strengthening the stakeholders of the innovation system, reinforcing their networking skills, increasing SMEs participation in RDI and boosting the innovation skills of the regional society. The necessity to reinforce the innovation culture in the region gives a main role to the technological and scientific policy during the period. And to satisfy this necessity it is crucial the creation of an innovative environment where the interaction of the different stakeholders of innovation can give the result of new innovative products and services, taking as a base the already available resources in the region and promoting the innovation ecosystem also in rural areas, where the innovation investement is even lower.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Aragonese Federation of Municipalities, Regions and Provinces (FAMCP)

The Operational Programme of Saxony directly address the Europe 2020 objectives, particularly emphasising the goals related to research, development & innovation and climate change & energy sustainability. 81% of Saxony's total ERDF allocation is foreseen for supporting research & innovation, for reducing CO2 emissions and for enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs. Most funds are foreseen for strengthening research and development in the Saxon economy and for improving applied research in Saxony, in line with the regional innovation strategy. As a result, the yet insufficient R&D expenditure of the SME-dominated economy is expected to increase and the well-developed public research infrastructure can be better used for a knowledge-based economic growth. In this context, 4,200 cooperation projects between research institutes and enterprises including third-party funds are to be realised, and it is expected that around 330 Million Euro private funds from the Saxon economy will be mobilised for research and innovation projects. Even if the support of SME through network and cluster is target of regional innovation strategies, companies outside the economic centers Dresden, Leipzig and Chemnitz need support to take part, especially because research institution are often to fare away. There are lot of offers for innovation support in SMEs, but it seems to be still a barriers to use them. These compnaies will need low barrier support to use the promotion for innovation. 

Which partners are working on this?
  • Aufbauwerk Region Leipzig GmbH

The programme contains the development priorities and development measures supporting the development of the Ústí Region. Among most important objectives of the programme belongs the sustainable improvement of the region´s economy stability and competitiveness. In line with the Regional Innovation Strategy of Ústí region It increases the importance of innovation and knowledge-based SMEs in the county economy - increasing share of these companies in terms of employment, in terms of turnover and value added. The project supports the measures of the policy instrument in the Priority 1 Competitive and stable economy and the Priority 5: Viable rural part of the region. The document should be treated as a live document which can be supplemented by new measures or “sub measures”, if they have been tested in validity and are useful for the development of the region. In this case the project will support the consolidation and innovation of SMEs in the region and help to improve interventions coming from the policy document and this way the policy document should be amended.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Regional Development Agency of Usti Region, PLC

Strategic Programme Regional Innovation Strategy for the Małopolska Region for 2014-2020 is a strategic plan to "Malopolska Region Development Strategy for 2011-2020" in the field of innovative economy. The main objective of the Strategy is to increase the competitiveness and innovation of Małopolska through the implementation of a harmonious policy, focusing on improving the conditions for business, innovation and science, development of information society, stimulating the demand for innovation and strengthening ties of cooperation between science and economy, especially in the areas of regional specialization.  The objective of priority 2 is to strengthen the propensity of companies to conduct business innovation by reducing the barriers and reducing the costs of innovation. The premise is also to achieve sustainable growth of private sector spending on research and development activities, and thus empowering companies in shaping of innovation policy and the development of the region. An advantage for the programme would be to put a greater emphasis on the development of MicroSMEs in rural areas. In it’s current range not much attention is devoted to rural areas, despite the fact that Malopolska Region is in large part covered by rural areas. Rural development is an essential part of development policy expressed among others in another strategic plan to "Malopolska Region Development Strategy for 2011-2020" called “Strategic Programme for Rural Areas”.  

Which partners are working on this?
  • Foundation in Support of Local Democracy Malopolska Institute of Local Government and Administration

The specific objection 1.2.1 is to support actions for research according to the needs of the private sector, for development and implementation in production of new products, services, technologies and processes, networking of education and research institutions and entrepreneurs for development, testing and implementation of innovative interdisciplinary products and services.Policy Instrument will support also the dynamics and good business practices of innovative industries;minimization the barriers to innovation and to policy tools for supporting novel business innovation trends and focus on win-win relationships between entrepreneurs,policy makers and researchersPromoting business investment in R&I, developing links and synergy between enterprises, research and development centres and the higher education sector,in particular promoting investment in product and service development, tech. transfer, 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. Vidzeme is below EU average in the proportion of SMEs that implement technological and non-technological innovation,investments in R&D,cooperation among SME’s and R&D institutions is needed.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Vidzeme Planning Region

This program has as main objective the sustainable improvement of the economy competitiveness and so it contributes for the combination of competitiveness factors and entrepreneurial innovation. One of its priorities is to reinforce the investigation and innovation infrastructures especially regarding the SME. This priority will allow the consolidation of SME and also a valorisation of the economic knowledge, as well as their introduction in networks in order to diminish the implications to the interregional cooperation. The program should be better developed in themes that concerns with the efficiency of the interventions and give a bigger innovation support to the enterprises that participate in the programme,also improving the support given to SMEs and monitoring the project.

It should also be improved the mechanism that promote a more effective articulation between people and enterprises, and also a better complementarily between instruments in order to promote a connection between the innovation delivery of SMEs and the market.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Municipality of Vila Pouca de Aguiar

The reference tool is the Thematic Objective 1 ROP ERDF 2014-2020 Lazio: technology transfer, social innovation, eco-innovation, public service applications, pilot lines. Actions 1.1.3 and 1.4.1, that take part from the Unified Planning on the KA03 and KA04. Based on the context analysis, the confrontation with local actors and the regional government indications, three objectives have emerged: − Repositioning of regional industrial and productive assets in segments and markets with higher added value; − Making of Lazio a "great European region of innovation" with international dimension; − Bring Lazio at the top of the European benchmark, directing the renewed competitiveness of the regional entrepreneurial fabric towards markets with MENA and BRICS countries. The S3 of Lazio aims to foster the innovative capabilities of businesses located in rural or sparsely populated areas, in the fields of agrifood, health, water and natural resources management, smart cities and security. This is the direction to which reverse the trends observed from structural analysis of the regional economy which is characterized by i) increasing levels of concentration in few areas of competitiveness and productivity; ii) inadequate capacity of the tertiary industry to bring to high value-added market the research, industrial, cultural, creative excellences of the territory. The RATIO project complies with the strategy for the Internal Areas approved with DGR 477 of 17/07/2014.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Regional Association of Lazio Municipalities-ANCI Lazio

The Irish business environment is dominated by SMEs, with 99% of businesses being classified as SMEs in 2010. As a consequence, the SME base acts as a major source of employment accounting for 69% of persons engaged, 51.5% of turnover and 46.8% of gross value added (GVA). In 2006, there were almost 16,700 enterprises born and by 2010 this figure had fallen to just over 11,200. By contrast enterprise closures increased from 11,900 in 2006 to 24,500 in 2009. Prior to 2009, the vast majority of enterprise deaths were in the construction sector however, by 2010 this had been overtaken by the services sector. The total early-stage entrepreneurial activity rate is 4.8% in Ireland compared with an EU rate of 7.2%. Fostering innovation in SMEs especially vulnerable ones will drive productivity and competitiveness of such SME’s. Focusing on Rural SMEs will facilitate innovation in companies who traditionally tend to be less innovative compared to companies located in urban areas. Improving SME competitiveness will enable the business to develop and grow which will have an additional spill over effect of reducing enterprise deaths which will also benefit rural unemployment. Indigenous SME’s are the underlying drivers of prosperity for rural areas and have been hit hard by the financial crisis and will benefit from the support offered through this project

Which partners are working on this?
  • Cork Chamber of Commerce