Synergien.NRW sensitises research and innovation stakeholders towards the funding alternatives available in the thematically interlinked support programmes of the EU and North Rhine-Westphalia, motivating and helping them in the process to make synergetic use of these possibilities for their innovation goals.
EU: Demand and support for innovations with European outreach
With Horizon Europe, its research and innovation programme, the European Union sets priorities in such a way that stakeholders from science, research and business can work at a fast pace on their international activities in research, development and innovation. This pace is necessary to be able to survive in a globalised world with ever shorter innovation cycles. At the same time, answers must be found to important social issues, such as health, environment and climate as well as energy and transport.
Horizon Europe represents the entire innovation cycle from basic and applied research to market introduction. Three pillars are planned:
- Excellent Science: Open-topic basic research and researcher mobility
- Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness: In six clusters, including Health; Climate, Energy and Mobility; Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment
- Innovative Europe: Instruments with a focus on “Innovation” and “Market Uptake”
Horizon Europe started in 2021. Annex IV of the corresponding EU regulation deals with synergies with other Union programmes (see Regulation (EU) 2021/695). Other EU funding programmes such as INTERREG and Erasmus+ or Digital Europe were launched at the same time. The degree to which institutions and companies participate in these EU funding programmes is also a yardstick for their European and international competitiveness. Universities, research institutes, industrial research and small and medium-sized enterprises – the drivers of innovation in North Rhine-Westphalia – will make extensive use of the funding instruments for basic and applied research, market-oriented research and development as well as exchange of researchers.
NRW: Use of Structural Funds’ resources to strengthen competitiveness
North Rhine-Westphalia invests resources from the European Structural and Investment Funds (and in future also partly funds for agriculture) in a highly targeted way to create a research and innovation-friendly environment, build up innovation capacity and generate innovations. EU resources from the European Regional Development Fund should especially be used by North Rhine-Westphalia’s strong and innovative industry in cooperation with the local science and research community to develop solutions for major and global economic and ecological challenges.
At the heart of North Rhine-Westphalia’s support strategy are competitions, which are tailored precisely to the regional economy’s research and innovation priorities and to a large extent thematically overlap the clusters within Horizon Europe. The objective of these competitions is to create the infrastructural conditions in science and research required for cutting-edge research and to support North Rhine-Westphalia’s economy in the development of innovative, globally competitive products and services.
In the EU Commission's guidance document "Synergies between Horizon Europe and ERDF programmes" identifies opportunities to strategically exploit Synergies between Regional and European research and innovation funding in the funding period 2021- 2027.