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European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA)
Call for tendersClosed

Call for tenders - Support facility for Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) - I3 support facility

Reference: Call for tenders EISMEA/2023/OP/0021


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European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency


The primary scope of this call for tenders is to support regional and national innovation stakeholders in interregional innovation ecosystem building by setting up an EU-level ‘Support Facility’ (Facility).

The I3 Instrument has a strong cohesion dimension in which it encourages cooperation between more developed and less developed regions in partnerships applying for support, and it targets a large part of the budget specifically on less developed regions. By supporting innovation projects in smart specialisation areas, I3 aims to boost innovation ecosystems and the innovation capacity of the less developed regions by integrating them into larger EU value chains.

The Facility will also build on the experience of individual actions supported under the I3 Capacity building Calls for proposals launched under the I3 Instrument Work Programmes.

The objectives of this contract will be achieved through the following actions:

  1. Supporting public authorities: Establishing and operating a Capacity Building Hub, as the central node that will assist European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) managing authorities and public bodies responsible for innovation and/or smart specialisation in the creation and promotion of I3 projects.

The Hub will create a space for public authorities that are involved in innovation capacity building activities to plan and implement I3 projects together. Less developed regions, as well as EU outermost regions and regions with specific challenges may need help in building institutional and legal environments conducive to innovation.

The Capacity Building Hub will offer support to help public authorities and their agencies in designing and piloting evidence-based and targeted innovation interventions in a policy experimentation setting.

Regions can make use of such experimental approach to create new and more effective policy solutions tailored to their needs and context, designing solutions for interregional cooperation while optimising the use of available funds. This is particularly important for regions that struggle to retain and attract talent as innovation and job creation are essential for remaining competitive.

The Facility will encourage discussions within EU Member States on how to leverage on I3 project results for a better use of mainstream ERDF programmes. This is to drive rapid progress towards the development of regional, national, and European value chains through interregional collaborations.

  1. Supporting innovation stakeholders: Identifying and supporting innovation ecosystem stakeholders with technical, policy, regulatory and investment advice for the articulation of their I3 projects applications.

In order to support innovation stakeholders in putting forward their I3 project applications, the Contractor will facilitate networking and exchanges of good practices by running a matchmaking platform (online) and physical events (workshops, training seminars, webinars).

The Facility will provide tools to identify and provide expertise to mature I3 consortia in developing their business case. It will also foster cooperation in dissemination and information activities with the Smart Specialisation Community of Practice (S3 CoP) and S3 Partnerships belonging to the S3 Platforms.

These activities will be accompanied by the drafting of a handbook "How to prepare a good I3 project proposal’, that will also need to be updated within the duration of this contract.

  1. Supporting DG REGIO/EISMEA: Supporting the Commission and the contracting authority to capitalise on and disseminate the outcome of I3-funded projects.

The Facility will help DG REGIO/EISMEA with feedback-based learning and evaluation activities to assess the impact of funded I3 projects.

The maximum total amount of all purchases under this call for tenders is EUR 3 136 062 for a duration of maximum 3 years.

For more information, please check the Funding & tender Portal.