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€100 billion for innovation to be supported by EU's regional funds [100 δις για καινοτομία από τα διαρθρωτικά προγράμματα της ΕΕ]

With the latest major reform of the EU regional policy under the new 2014-2020 budget for regional development, some €100 billion will be spent on research and innovation, information and communications technology, SMEs and the low-carbon economy. This novelty in the European budget will allow for better synergies between Horizon 2020, the EU’s research flagship programme, and the European regional development fund, one of the major components of the EU budget.
The aim is to address the research divide and stop the brain drain from Europe’s Eastern and Southern countries. This ‘can only be tackled by innovation’ said Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for regional and Urban Policy. The funding is expected to funnel through 'smart specialisation strategies' that use local know-how to identify and build on a region's existing strengths, and are expected to challenge policymakers to talk to business leaders and universities to draw up them up. Initiatives favouring the use of regional funds for innovation are very much welcome by the EUREKA Network which during the last EUREKA Ministerial Conference held in Budapest in 2012, acknowledged the role of EUREKA as a natural partner in the design and implementation of smart specialisation strategies related to the spending of structural funds on innovation over the 2014-2020 period. EUREKA is presently considering ways to better link EU macro-regional strategies and other initiatives with a regional focus, such as 'Regions of Knowledge'. Read more on Science Business News.

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