Most Member States benefit from synergies between Horizon Europe and cohesion funds

Member states Research and Innovation and European regional Development Fund (ERDF) managing authorities met for the second time to enhance collaboration and synergies.

The first part of the meeting was dedicated to policy related topics, such as the significant potential of Smart Specialisation Strategies under cohesion policy to enhance synergies between the Horizon Europe and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programmes, with the smart specialisation strategies serving as a crucial bridge for their development. The group also discussed how to improve ‘access to excellence’, in particular for ‘Widening countries’, state aid rules for Research, Development and Innovation and an exchange of practices among Member States on how to best structure cooperation between R&I and Cohesion policy communities at national level.

The second part looked more into the practical aspects of implementing synergies, based on the outcome of a recently launched survey to the members of the group on synergies. The survey revealed that nearly all the 16 Member States who responded engage in synergies with Horizon Europe at national or regional level, with primary funding source being cohesion policy, followed by the Recovery and Resilience Facility. The most used instrument remains the Seal of Excellence, with a broad coverage of different policy actions (EIC Accelerator, Teaming, Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions, ERC Proof of Concept calls). Other tools related to possible ttransfers from ERDF to Horizon Europe, ERDF support to European Partnerships, and the use of new ‘synergies friendly’ state aid provisions. Members of the group also explored how a data driven approach could help identify synergies between EU programmes and support the uptake and deployment of Horizon project results.

Two more meetings of the ERA Forum sub-group on Access to Excellence – ‘R&I and Cohesion Managing Authorities’ Network (RIMA) are foreseen in 2024. The RIMA group members also discussed possible work and deliverables under the new ERA policy agenda, beyond 2024.

Source: European Commission | Researcha and Innovation (