Neth-ER: interregional cooperation key for knowledge-driven growth

6 maart 2018

To stimulate innovation and convergence in Europe, further investment in interregional cooperation is needed. Regions should be encouraged to combine their forces and work together in pan-European programmes on the basis of shared specialisations. This is one of the key messages of Neth-ER's vision paper on Cohesion Policy post-2020. Neth-ER calls for a ’knowledge first’ policy, where education, research and innovation are embedded in all EU policy areas, including Regional Policy.   

Knowledge-driven growth

EU Cohesion Policy post-2020 should be focused on interregional partnerships, human capital and co-creation of knowledge. This is what Neth-ER calls for in its vision paper for Cohesion Policy post-2020 “Together for knowledge-driven growth”. Three key principles and one key condition are outlined to make sure that Europe takes a leading role in increasing coherence, innovation and competitiveness throughout all regions and responds to the societal challenges of today and tomorrow.

Stimulate interregional partnerships

According to Neth-ER, interregional cooperation should be based on shared specialisations, by taking the smart specialisation strategy one step further and create pan-European programmes for thematic cooperation between regions. If more and less developed regions work together on specific issues, knowledge infrastructures and networks can be further developed. This will result in ecosystems in which regional stakeholders can participate, and an increase of knowledge-based services and jobs. An important condition to move towards a knowledge-based society is to equip people with the necessary future skills.

Investing in human innovation capacity

Stimulating the innovation capacity also means investing in human capital. Neth-ER calls to focus on human resources as much as innovation structures as the two are equally necessary. To prepare people for a quickly evolving labour market, the European Social Fund should invest in developing necessary workforce skills. Educational institutions should be involved in smart specialisation strategies as they are the actors that need to anticipate and respond to labour market needs. By stimulating cooperation between vocational education and higher education and business, closer connections to the labour market can be enhanced.

Valorisation by promoting the innovation chain

Such cooperation between all relevant actors is essential in achieving valorisation as well: ‘Science with impact’ is realised by co-creation between education, research and business. Neth-ER recommends to target funding to wide-ranging knowledge valorisation where educational institutions provide knowledge and expertise. Cross-overs in regions between sectors at different levels should be encouraged; at the thematic level as well as by stimulating public-private partnerships. In addition, there should be more focus on smaller projects to support disruptive innovation.

About this paper

This paper was drafted to support the European Commission’s consultation process on EU funds in the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework in the area of cohesion. It presents the contribution of the Dutch knowledge community to the Commission’s public consultation on EU funds that will be closed on 8 March, and further elaborates on the two other Neth-ER vision papers for FP9 and Erasmus++.

More information

Publication Neth-ER: Vision paper for cohesion policy post-2020: Together for knowledge-driven growth 
Publication Neth-ER: Vision paper for FP9: Knowledge first 
Publication Neth-ER: Vision paper for Erasmus++: Knowledge first 
Article Neth-ER: Geef uw mening over KP9, de opvolger van Erasmus+ en de structuurfondsen 
Article Neth-ER: Neth-ER: EU moet meer investeren in kennis 
Dossier: Structuurfondsen na 2020

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