HIGHER – Promoting the implementation of smart specialization policies by the interregional cooperation.

Nine European institutions collaborate in the framework of the Interreg Europe Program for the implementation of HIGHER. The project has the objective to improve the innovation framework and the smart specialization strategy of different EU regions. HIGHER will analyze and exchange experiences and good practices on the management and implementation of regional policy instruments designed to promote the innovation projects under the collaboration between research centers, industry and public authorities.

 Within the Europe 2020 Strategy, it is defined the agenda of economic change which will support the regions by investing in priorities and development needs based on knowledge. In this regard, national and regional authorities across Europe have designed smart specialization strategies in entrepreneurial discovery process, so that the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) can be used more efficiently and synergies between different EU, national and regional policies, as well as public and private investments can be increased.

To contribute to the improvement of the implementation of these regional strategies, the European Commission has financed through the Interreg Europe Program, the HIGHER Project, led by UAB Research Park, budget of 1.8 million Euros. The project started on April 2016 and will last until April 2020. The Kick-off meeting of the project was celebrated at the Eureka Building, in the Campus of Autonomous University of Barcelona.

The HIGHER project is addressed to achieve innovative models of public private partnerships suitable to mobilize investment in related smart specialization areas and fostering an entrepreneurial discovery process in driving innovation process of the policy instruments. This will be achieved through the analysis of nine policy instruments from one of each region involved in the project to promote the innovation projects under public private partnerships. The partners of the project will evaluate these instruments and try to identify which are their main weaknesses, developing a learning process to overcome the main obstacles around them and enhancing a better and more efficient implementation.

Thought basic methods, as workshops, study visits and thematic summits and developed ones, as joint analysis, peer reviews and e-learning modules, the different regions will exchange the experiences and good practices for the future improvement of the policy instruments of each region.

Impact on regional innovation

The objective is to strengthen the Lithuanian innovation system by creating environment for the spread of knowledge and technology that get enterprises more actively involved in research and development and innovation activities.

Main applicants for this instrument that will deliver the innovation support services: public legal entities i.e. innovation support agencies, centres, technology parks.

Final beneficiaries: companies, especially newly established technology companies.

In the last programming period the funds for the instrument have been used to partly compensate the expenses related to the provision of the following services: promotion of innovation, innovation partnership, and building demand for innovation support services; technological audits; new product marketing; technology transfer, partner search; provision of advice on innovation process etc.

The need to improve this policy instrument is twofold. On one hand, the Ministry of Economy feels that more impact could be generated from the funds that have been allocated. On other hand, evolution of businesses and their needs clearly indicates that traditional public support services should be more dynamic and versatile.

Drawing from the past experience and existing data, the main future challenges for this instrument is related to being relevant to the business, science and society needs and increasing the efficiency and impact of the innovation support services.

Project events

10/11/2016 – 1st Peer Review Meeting
10/11/2016 – 2nd HIGHER Consortium Meeting
29/03/2017 – 3rd HIGHER Consortium Meeting
30/03/2017 – HIGHER Interregional Meeting
17/05/2017 – Innovation Policy Summit

For more information,contact Giedrė Ramanauskienė, g.ramanauskiene@lic.lt, +370 5 235 61 16.