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Regions of knowledge

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The ‘Regions of knowledge’ initiative aims to strengthen the research potential of European regions, in particular by encouraging and supporting the development, across Europe, of regional ‘research-driven clusters’, associating universities, research centres, enterprises and regional authorities.

Why is it important?

It will allow regions to intensify the role of research and technological development (RTD) in economic development and to invest better and more in RTD through cultivating innovative ‘research-driven clusters’ at a local and regional level. The aim is to increase the capacity of European regions to invest in and develop their commitment in research which can contribute significantly to economic development.
The actions undertaken in this area will enable European regions to strengthen their capacity for investing in and carrying out research activities, while maximising their potential for a successful involvement of their operators in European research projects. These activities will be implemented in close relationship with the EU’s regional policy and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP).

What will be funded?

This activity will be implemented through Coordination and Support Actions to cover the following:

  • Analysis, development and implementation of research agendas for regional or cross-border clusters
    • thematic issues or priorities, based on the analysis of the existing regional plans of RTD and on the development policies of economic sectors;
    • regional RTD public and private actors (engaged and non engaged);
    • the strengths and weaknesses of the regions concerned in terms of their capacity to produce, transfer and use knowledge;
    • economic development needs;
    • existing RTD policy and activities, their evolution and impact;
    • European and international context;
    • synergies and opportunities for mutual learning;
    • mentoring and cooperation possibilities between regional actors involved in research driven clusters.
  • Mentoring of regions with a less-developed research profile by highly developed ones
    • organising events including conferences, meetings, workshops or seminars, related studies, exchange of personnel, exchange and dissemination of good practices and, if necessary, the definition, organisation and management of joint or common initiatives.
  • Initiatives to improve integration
    • Increasing the research potential and researcher mobility;
    • Improving and sharing RTD infrastructure;
    • Supporting research projects;
    • Promoting networking between research organisation and enterprises, in particular SMEs;
    • Enhancing knowledge transfer between firms and between research organisation and enterprises, in particular SMEs;
    • Improving availability of and access to SME support services and private financing for RTD;
    • outlining of a business plan: defining how to finance the joint action plan by using possibilities afforded at national/local level or at Community level (Framework Programmes, Structural Funds).
  • Dissemination activities - conferences, workshops, publications, web-based initiatives.


The European Commission will fund ‘Regions of knowledge’ activities by selecting project proposals submitted following the publication of a ‘Call for proposals’. When the first calls of the ‘Regions of knowledge’ Work Programme are published they will be announced on this page. Read more…

Suitable participants would be ‘Consortia of Regional research driven clusters or a single research-driven cluster having multinational partnership’ - concentrations of research organisations (public research centres, universities, not-for-profit bodies), enterprises (large firms, SMEs), regional or local authorities (local government, regional development agencies) and where appropriate local entities such as chambers of commerce, savings banks and banks, operating in a particular scientific and technological domain or economic sector.


The EU Member States have earmarked a total of € 126 million for funding this theme over the duration of FP7.

Relevant European activities

Since October 2010 the Synergies Expert Group (SEG), made up of experts, rapporteurs and representatives from FP7, the Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the Cohesion Policy Funds, has been analysing how EU research policy should be aligned across the main European research policy framework programmes and actions.

In June 2011, the group published a report containing several key recommendations for the future of EU research policy. A key pillar of the SEG report was ensuring the regional aspect of research remains at the top of the EU policy agenda. This same topic was a feature shared with another report 'Analysis and recommendations for the future evolution of the Research Potential Activity of the EU-EU FP7 Capacities Programme'. Written by the Expert Group on Research Potential Project Portfolio, the authors made recommendations for the continuing evolution of the Research Potential programme.

Analysis and recommendations for the future evolution of the Research Potential Activity of the EU-EU FP7 Capacities Programme:

For further information, see the following pages on related initiatives, the CORDIS National Service and the Regional aspects of research under FP7.

For networking and support, see also the TRANS REG NCP Network.

Last updated on: 2011-07-19