Running in parallel and with expected synergies with the upcoming Horizon Europe, the I3 initiative configures a new instrument to support industrial regional investment and to contribute towards the goal of ‘strengthening innovation in Europe’s regions’ during the 2021-2027 period.

    By supporting the creation of interregional public-private innovation partnerships and  focusing on close-to-market technology and commercialization of results, this instrument shall make smart specialization strategies more tangibles and with a bigger emphasis on industrial value chains and private investment activation.

    While more details are still to come (expected for 2021) and hopefully an higher budget allocation (current estimation is 0,5 billion euros), EC anticipated that the I3 foresees two strands, one targeting well-developed regional ecosystems and focusing on weakness or market failures and a second one targeting less developed regions  for reinforcing regional innovation ecosystems and unlocking underutilised capacities.

    Despite the current undefinition and considering that many things can still change (for better), we really welcome this initiative that accentuate its attention on regions and their capacity to reinforce ecosystem with universities, RTOs and private companies for fast developing of technologies and value chains. The central role of regions and their capacity to shape and guide the implementation of the I3 instrument will be a key step for the overall success of the programme. In this crucial moment where everything can still happen, regional and local authorities, and their representatives, shall closely follow its definition and try to speak the same language of DG REGIO to agree on common defined priorities and to avoid that such powerful instrument turns into an labyrinth of questions and doubt for regions to implement.

    Startup Europe Region Network (SERN), together with its local authorities, start-ups and RTOs, is accompanying the all initiative by supporting interactions and creating opportunities of dialogue between the different stakeholders involved in the I3 initiative. As an advisory member to Interreg Europe projects and as strategic partner in European R&I projects, SERN knows very well the difficulties of regions in translating their  complex realities at European level and try to support them in this endeavour with policy guidance and fundraising support.


    Chiara Frencia

    Startup Europe Regions Network Board Member


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