Provides advisory and financial support to innovation projects in joint smart specialisation areas on the road towards commercialisation and scale-up
Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) Instrument
The Interregional innovation investments instrument as part of the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF) aims at supporting interregional innovation projects in their commercialisation and scale-up phases giving them the tools to overcome regulatory and other barriers and bring their project to investment level.
The agency will implement two call strands:
- Financial and advisory support for investments in interregional innovation projects;
- Financial and advisory support to the development of value chains in less developed regions.
What we do and what are we looking for
The I3 Instrument work programme aims at promoting innovation through Smart Specialisation and interregional collaboration. The I3 Instrument supports stronger interregional cooperation in investments and makes sustainable connections by linking regional ecosystems in shared smart specialisation areas vital to accelerate market uptake of research results and stimulate innovation. Therefore its focus is on:
Strand 1 - Financial and advisory support for investments in interregional innovation projects
Strand 1 targets mature partnerships to help them accelerate market uptake and scale-up of innovative solutions in shared smart specialisation priority areas, as well as to develop a portfolio of investment projects.
Strand 2a - Financial and advisory support to the development of value chains in less developed regions
Strand 2a focuses on increasing the capacity of regional innovation ecosystems in less developed regions to participate in global value chains, as well as the capacity to participate in partnerships with other regions.
Budget (both strands)
- 2021: EUR 75 800 571
- 2022: EUR 77 316 583
- 2023: EUR 78 862 915
- 2024: EUR 80 440 173.
Capacity Building Strand 2b (I3-2023-CAP2b)
The European Commission launched a call for proposals for Capacity Building Strand 2b (I3-2023-CAP2b) under the Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) Instrument on 15 November 2023.
The call aims to strengthen regional innovation ecosystems in less-developed regions and build their capacity to develop business cases for interregional innovation projects. The call also focuses on improving the capacity of public authorities and innovation intermediaries to support companies in identifying investment portfolios at an interregional scale.
The first cut-off date is 15 February 2024, and the second is 14 November 2024, with a budget of EUR 13 million for each of the cut-off dates.
Regional Innovation Valleys calls for proposal
In the context of the New European Innovation Agenda, the Regional Innovation Valleys (RIVs) aim to create connected regional innovation valleys across the European Union (EU), involving regions with lower innovation performances, by building on strategic areas of regional strength and specialisation (defined in their smart specialisation strategies), in support of key EU priorities.
The European Commission dedicated EUR 122 million under Horizon Europe (European Innovation Ecosystems) and under the European Regional Development Fund (Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) Instrument).
On 17 October, the Commission closed the first coordinated calls under the Regional Innovation Valleys initiative and received in total 57 proposals - 49 under the I3 Instrument calls and 8 under the European Innovation Ecosystems call - to strengthen EU cohesion and innovation.
For further information, you can consult the documents below:
Guidelines for applicants
Consult the FAQ of the Funding & tender opportunites portal
Call "Strand 2b Capacity Building in Less Developed Regions" - Informative session - 23 November 2023
On 23 November 2023, an info session about the I3 Instrument Call "Strand 2b Capacity Building in Less Developed Regions" was held online. Did you miss it? No problem - the recording and the presentation are available now.
Regional Innovation Valleys - Call for proposals Informative Session - 25 May 2023
On 25 May 2023 the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) organised an informative webinar to learn more about the Regional Innovation Valleys (RIVs) calls for proposals.
The Power Point Presentation of the event is available below along with the recording.
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11 projects were selected under the first I3 Instrument cut-off. They will receive about EUR 70.5 million of EU funding coming from the European Regional Development Fund, and at least 70% of the funding will be directly invested into companies.
The average funding for a project is EUR 6.4 million and will be shared among 255 beneficiaries from 22 EU Member States. The successful projects where selected from 28 applications.
I3 Instrument under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
The Interregional Innovation Investment Instrument (I3) financed from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF represents an opportunity to support interregional portfolios of companies’ investments bringing innovation to the market at high technology readiness levels (TRL 6-9) and reshaping EU interregional value chains.
It funds interregional innovation investments projects under shared smart specialisation priorities (S3) in the following thematic areas: green transition, digital transition and smart manufacturing which take place in the S3 participating regions. It aims to use the untapped potential of investments in innovation where the public and private sectors, as well as research and business from different countries and regions, can work together.
Policy background documents
- News article
Opening of the call Capacity Building Strand 2b under the Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) Instrument
The European Commission has launched a call for proposals Capacity Building Strand 2b (I3-2023-CAP2b) under the Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) Instrument, on 15 November 2023.
- News article
Two new calls published. Apply by 17 October
- News article
The European Commission has launched today complementary calls for proposals under the Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) Instrument and the European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE) part of Horizon Europe
- News article
Check the 2023 - 2024 I3 Instrument Work Programme
- News article
The European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) have signed the very first project (DIGIT-PRE) funded under the Interregional Innovation Investment (I3) Instrument.
- Training and workshops
European Week of Regions and Cities: Join the Innovation through Interregional Cooperation - I3 Instrument workshop
- Brussels, Belgium