The conference “Partnerships for Regional Innovation: From Pilot to Practice" held on 30-31 May brought together participants in the Partnerships for Regional Innovation (PRI) pilot and beyond to discuss further joint work, exchange good practices, co-shape the revised PRI Playbook and engage with interested stakeholders on the green and digital transitions.
In 2022, the European Commission announced that 74 territories including regions, cities and Member States were selected for the PRI Pilot to jointly develop, explore, co-create and test tools while linking local strategies with initiatives at EU level to foster the green and digital transitions.
Swedish and other European politicians, national authorities, regional development directors, officials and an array of stakeholders working on sustainable regional development and exploring with transformative innovation policies gathered to share lessons learnt from the Pilot Action and discuss the continuity of further strengthening collaboration on the basis of the achieved results. At the conference, the European Commission presented new tools and actions that will open up new cooperation, alliances and talks on the new European Innovation Agenda for more multi-level governance for innovation-driven territorial transformation and interregional cooperation to strengthen European value chains through regional innovation valleys.
Tanya Hristova, the Mayor of Gabrovo and SEDEC Chair, said: “We are in the beginning of a process of economic transformation, technology transition and societal changes, and I believe that regional innovation ecosystems can help us address these challenges in the future. We need more cooperation among regions with complementary strategies, to foster new value chains in Europe and to strengthen our technology sovereignty in Europe in future-oriented and rapidly developing technologies. More regions have to adopt the approach of partnerships for regional innovation and to become innovation valleys".
“To achieve the green transition, we need to be helped at the regional, national and EU levels. By meeting in Tällberg, we connect to more partners and strengthen our innovation capacity while also shaping the innovation policy of the future", said Birgitta Sacrédeus (SE/EPP), Member of Dalarna Regional Council and Chair of the Regional Development Board.
Markku Markkula (FI/EPP), President of the Helsinki region, emphasised: “We have agreed to continue the Partnerships for Regional Innovation together. Regions will work together with the JRC, but also together with the Spanish Presidency, and from 2024, together with the European Parliament. Better targeted policies and the breaking down of silos are needed to strengthen regional innovation ecosystems. Innovation will help businesses and citizens to face today's challenges if we bring together the public and private sectors to share a vision, to agree on the rules of the game and mobilise investment."
The PRI Pilot Action led the EU regions to back the Regional Innovation Valleys as the key step to boost interregional innovation during the high-level meeting held the 28 March. At the meeting, CoR representatives and European Commissioners Mariya Gabriel and Elisa Ferreira launched the call for expression of interest to establish 100 Regional Innovation Valleys, helping address the innovation divide in the EU, leading to the European Commission making available €122 million under the European Innovation Ecosystems initiative of Horizon Europe and the Interregional Innovation Investment Instrument (I3) of the European Regional Development Fund.
The conference was organised in the framework of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU, together with the European Commission, the European Committee of the Regions and the Dalarna Region together with the regions of Northern and Eastern Central Sweden and Vinnova, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth and MidSweden.
On 26 May, the SEDEC commission published a comprehensive study on upgraded smart specialisation strategies, analysing in depth the PRI and its regions.