Lorenza BadielloRegione Emilia Romagna Brussels
Lorenza Badiello is the Director of the Emilia-Romagna Region EU Office in Brussels. She was previously Head of the Brussels office of ASTER (The Emilia Romagna Technological Development Agency) and prior to that she held a post as a researcher for NOMISMA in Bologna. She has been lecturing EU integration at a number of European Universities. Lorenza has a MBA from Profingest (Italy) and MA in International Relations and Political Strategy from the University of Kent (UK); she holds post graduate diplomas from the Universitè Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) and a degree in Political Sciences from the University of Bologna (Italy). With over 20 years’ experience in European affairs and EU funded projects, Lorenza has published articles on issues such as EU lobbying, governance and European policies. Her research interests include regional development, research and innovation. Lorenza has been an OSCE election observer in the Balkans; she is fellow of international networks including the German Marshall Fund and an active participant in European networks including ERRIN (European Regions Research and Innovation Network).
Bioeconomy in the EU: synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds and Horizon 2020
The European Commission has emphasised the need to create synergies between European funding programs. This presentation aims to provide an introduction on how this can be achieved in a bio economy perspective, particularly within the context of European regions and Smart Specialisation Strategies. In so doing the presentation will share the experience of the Region of Emilia-Romagna to illustrate concrete examples of synergies and evaluation tools.
A major goal for Europe is to increase investments in research and innovation while improving efficiency and quality of the spending. This implies more coordination between policies at European, national and regional level. In particular, synergies are needed between European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and Horizon 2020 (and other competitiveness-related programs). The European Commission is encouraging this process of synergies between funds – as pointed out by a recent European Commission guide (2014, Enabling synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds, Horizon 2020 and other research innovation and competitiveness-related Union programmes, EC Guidelines for policies DG Regional and Urban Policy) – with the purpose to provide elements and recommendations to Member States and a variety of stakeholders in order to more effectively develop and implement projects.
Coordination of policies and synergies between programmes contribute to amplifying investments that are – as emphasised by President J.C. Juncker – urgently needed in Europe. Synergies will enable a strategic combination of different EU funding schemes in a single project while maintaining private co-funding with the advantage of ensuring complementarity and having a deeper impact of projects at a territorial level.
Synergies can also enhance the bioeconomy, generating thus a new perspective for growth. New investments in R&I and better spending in this field will have an impact on European production and will result in a more valuable and sustainable economy. This can easily occur at regional level because bio economy is place-based and it is at territorial level that innovation is produced.
Synergy and complementarity of EU funds will be encouraged through a strategic approach based on Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3). RIS3 have been promoted as a condition for receiving Structural and Investment funds (ESIF) and are mainly developed at regional level to identify competitive advantages and set priorities for European investments in innovation. Bio economy is a priority in Smart Specialisation Strategies of a number of European regions. The promotion of the bio economy at territorial level – related for example to food security, green and blue growth, sustainable agriculture and forestry – represents a possible response to today’s societal challenges.
Bioeconomy is referred to in different pillars of the Horizon 2020 that aims at excellence. In the Societal Challenges of Horizon 2020, there are references to bioeconomy with consequent calls for proposals. The pillar Industrial Leadership refers instead to the key enabling technologies – KETs. Finally, Horizon 2020 also supports Joint Technology Initiatives- JTI – which are public-private partnerships between industry and the European Commission where partners co-fund specific calls on the topic.
The bioeconomy is linked to a plethora of other sectors. However, the concept of synergies – as foreseen by the EC Guide – mostly refers to ESIF and H2020 and other competitiveness related programmes, in other words it is particularly directed at European regions.
This presentation includes examples on how regions can act as important catalysts in building strong regional innovation ecosystems and strategic partnerships, thereby encouraging stakeholders to collaborate with a systemic approach for mutual benefit. Strong regional partnerships within regions and between European regions – building on the bioeconomy – will be the key to future success, as the experience of an effective European network such as ERRIN demonstrates.
Finally, the example of Emilia-Romagna, a region which has a high concentration of SMEs, will be shared. A region in which the biobased economy is thriving and crosscutting, contributing to the development of a strong and sustainable ecosystem; a region where institutions, research and innovation (particularly through the regional High Technology Network and its laboratories), together with a number of industrial sectors contribute to strengthening the Green Economy. Among these, Agri-food, Mechanics, White biotechnology, Chemical and Waste management and Green constructions are the most relevant at regional level to foster bioeconomy. A region where synergies between European programmes have been integral part to the Region’s policy. This policy of integration will be consolidated in the current 2014-2020 period, starting from the Smart Specialisation Strategy elaboration process and its final architecture. The traditional socio-economic cohesion of Emilia-Romagna and regional leadership have been able to produce innovation and build strategic and lasting partnerships. These elements constitute the back bone of the Operational Plans and Programmes, for a virtuous combination of different EU , regional and private co-funding schemes and a deeper impact of projects at a territorial level.
As the EC synergies guide indicates – to pick up the conference sub-title – it is a matter of urgency to move from sectors to systems and from concepts to reality.
Bruxelles, 23 September