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Outcomes of the conference


Participants of the conference appreciated measures that have been introduced and implemented by the EC to help decrease the innovation gap. Nonetheless, further efforts have to be maintained. In order to cross the innovation divide and widen the participation of EU13 in Framework programmes it is essential that all actors and stakeholders in research and innovation take their part. Therefore, based on some ideas put forward by some participants, the SECID Conference calls on all stakeholders to be open to these suggestions which could significantly contribute to the reduction of innovation divide and increase the scientific excellence report


During the SECID Conference, the application was used in order to engage audience in conversation. The application allowed to participate also to those who were streaming the conference online. allowed us to run polls for the audience and via this application and anynone could raise questions during all plenary and parallel sessions.



Among all 300 participants, 182 of them were active users and they asked 118 questions to our speakers. Participants could upvote questions in order to give them a larger visibility. These preferences were crucial when the moderator was chosing what he will ask. The three most popular questions were:

  1. How are you planning to increase synergies between Horizon 2020 and ESIF? There are many obstables in the practice (reporting, different finance instruments, etc.)
  2. How is Horizon 2020 / will FP9 be contributing to opening up the „old boys’ closed clubs”?
  3. Is there any plan to make cohesion programs (managed esp. by DG REGIO) and community innovation schemes (esp. by DG RTD + DG GROW) more compatible in near future?


SECID organizers prepared five polls for the conference regarding reasons of innovation divide, current instruments , widening measures for the future, MSCA within widening countries and national instruments supporting participation in the European Research Area.


Out of 89 voters in a multiple answer poll, 73% think that national instruments in research and development are the most important reason of innovation divide. Then, 27% believe that it is the bussines expenditure on research and development and 18% view as the main issue the brain drain. Quality of education and years of accession to FP followed, with size of a country ranking the last with only 2%.


On the scale from 1 to 10, the audience voted on to what extent are the current instruments fit for purpose. The average score was 5.68. 


More money for widening instruments in FP and more support for structural reforms in the countries are considered to be the most significant widening measures for the future. Introduction of selection criteria of geographically ballanced projects, better remuneration system in FP and more synergies between policies and EU programmes followed the two most upvoted measures.


On the scale from 1 to 5, an average audience score on to what extent does MSCA support the mobility of researchers from the widening countries was 3.25.


The last poll regarding national instruments supporting better participation in the European Research Area brought following results: 50% of participants said that there are several instruments in their country and they are frequently used. 27% confirmed that there are some instruments but they are not very efficient. 17% is now aware of such as instrument in their country and the rest claimed that there is no such instrument at nationala level. 

Presentations of Keynote speakers


Jana Kolar - Plenary Session 1 

Mary O'Connell - Plenary Session 2

Markku Markkula - Plenary Session 3 

Photos from SECID Conference


More pictures can be found on our Facebook profile.



Markku Markkula's keynote speech on Beyond the Horizons



Dear Mrs Rute, Dear Mr Lemaître, Dear Slovak Presidency colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,


Today's conference dedicated to "Spreading Excellence and Crossing the Innovation Divide" has really span a number of key themes and topics which are important for the future of R&I policy at all levels of governance: European, national and regional. In this final session, we are called to reflect on the future steps, possibilities and challenges "Beyond Horizon 2020." 


I can speak on behalf of all committed regional and local elected members of this EU assembly of 700 members and alternates, but also those who are elected in their local constituencies, answering every day the needs and wishes of our citizens. Moreover, back home, mayors and regional politicians talk also to many stakeholders: universities, start-ups, refugees' centres, SMEs, social services…They have contact with a complete but also constantly evolving picture of the reality. In short they represent a valuable and rich source of inspiration for the European Union. While discussing with the citizens, I realize that Europe still represents to their eyes a good proposal. But the citizens are worried about concrete issues, not much about the institutions' power game. They are actually worried about what is happening at their borders and within their borders and they are worried about the lack of jobs for the young people. We should not hide that, we must acknowledge it and look for solutions! We must listen and understand the needs of the citizens, while trying to develop jointly solutions. And in doing so, we need to be brutally honest (to use President Tusk's words).


Dear Friends,

We understand that the Europe is facing a huge amount of the challenges, which are timely and relevant in mid-term review and post 2020preparations beyond Horizon 2020. We should therefore think together how to build our contribution by European Committee of the Regions to better voice the views of regional and local authorities in the EU while rebuilding citizens' confidence.


As most of you have already heard, we recently wrote a book 'Regional Innovation Ecosystems' with our members. We have tried to look for answers to a few of key questions. At first, I will start with the importance of regional innovation ecosystem and cohesion policy.. This ecosystem thinking is instrumental in implementing and creating synergies between different actors in changing the mindset towards growth and jobs in regions and cities.


Let me then link this to the synergies between European funding instruments like H2020, ESIF and EFSI. The European Commission has to continue to promote synergies between different programmes and financing instruments, as well as engaging cities and regions in learning to use different financing including innovative public procurement and other funds. Here simplification must be key to encourage open innovation, public sector innovation laboratories and start-ups and growth businesses to boost local economy.


However, Europe 2020 has taken very much a top down approach. The European Semester and country specific recommendations are not sufficient. We at the Committee believe that the time has come to introduce territorial impact assessments for European Commission proposals. Aligning cohesion policy with the European growth strategy can only work if we find the balance in taking a top-down and bottom up approach to policy making. There is therefore a need for strengthening the territorial dimension in the EU economic governance and particularly the European Semester process. Beyond the link between cohesion policy and economic governance in Europe, I would like to highlight three areas for improvement of after 2020:

1) Reinforcing the partnership principle: We need a real and genuine partnership. The partnership is not the cherry on top of the cake, as many may think, but the recipe of the cake. The partnership is a pre-condition for good delivery;

2) Increasing capacity-building and technical assistance to ensure the absorption of funds, which is a problem in many regions;

3) Need for simplification, in particular to tackle gold plating by Member States which has added to the considerable red-tape which is holding back effective delivery.


Closing the Innovation Gap

Here I would like to reiterate an important message that often comes from our elected local representatives: the innovation gap is not only a burning reality among the EU Member States, the Regions and the cities and at the NUTSII level, but it also exists within the nation-states, among capital and provincial cities. Addressing urgently this problem may save us a lot of funds, including from Cohesion Policy. Unfortunately, the cumulation of negative factors: demographic, austerity measures, poor planning of regional R&I priorities, week international academic networks, leads us to call for urgent measures for closing the "innovation divide".


From the cities and regions point of view political decision makers need to start thinking about their region from the perspective of becoming innovation ecosystems built on strengthening human capital. In addition, research and innovation strategies in our regions, needs to be an economic transformation using innovations for the wellbeing of a region. And, last, but not the least, pioneering regions develop their collaboration mentality and working culture based on crossing boundaries and creating European partnerships through the help of new digitalized open innovation platforms and processes. We have produced opinions in recent years calling for pioneering regions to be forerunners in implementing the Europe 2020 strategy and through that in creating our desired future.


Dear Friends,

The title of our today' debate was spreading excellence and crossing the innovation divide. Let's work together for a better framework progress after 2021.


In this respect, I want to reflect on Europe from a regional and local perspective. I believe that we should try in this way to co-create a positive agenda for the EU, and reflect citizens' wishes when decisions are taken in Brussels. We are determined to rebuild our citizens' trust for the European project: "for and with the people". I hope we can start together our reflection under this positive, bottom-up approach.

Lists of Participants


Lists of participants attending the parallel sessions are published:


- Parallel Session 1

- Parallel Session 2

- Parallel Session 3 


Welcome to read our new brochure


Our new brochure for SECID conference is available for viewing online or for download here




Read to see what we prepared for the SECID conference. 



EU Member States and GERD

Read the whole article at EUROSTAT.


Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) known also as R & D intensity is mostly expressed relative to GDP. The ratio of GERD to GDP is among one of five key Europe 2020 strategy indicators.




Finland (3.17%), Sweden (3,16%.), Denmark (3.05%) and Austria (2.99%) achieved in 2014 the highest levels of research and development intensities among EU Member States. On the other side, the lowest rank of R & D intensities among EU Member States was recroded in Cyprus (0,38%). Beside Cyprus, there were eight more EU Member States that reported R & D expenditure that was below 1.00% of their GDP.




Member States with the lowest R & D intensities were ones that joined the EU in 2004 or more recently, although it should be noted that Slovenia (2.39%) reported an R & D intensity above the EU-28 average, while the Czech Republic (2.00%), Estonia (1.44%), Hungary (1.37%) and Lithuania (1.01%) also reported intensities above 1.00%.

Nearly all EU Member States reported a higher R & D intensity in 2014 than in 2004, the exceptions being the two Member States with the highest intensities, Finland and Sweden, as well as Luxembourg and Croatia; there was no change in R & D intensity in Romania during the period under consideration. At the other end of the range, the biggest increases in R & D intensity (in percentage point terms) between 2004 and 2014 were recorded in Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Austria.




EU13 in the European Innovation Scoreboard


The European Innovation Scoreboard 2016 published by European Commission and providing an analysis of innovation performance of EU Member States (and other European countries) helps identify regions that need to catch up:


”The performance of Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain is below that of the EU average. These countries are Moderate Innovators. Bulgaria and Romania are Modest Innovators with innovation performance well below that of the EU average.”


Source: European Commission


Slovenia – as only EU 13 Member State -  is in a group of strong innovators along with France, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg and UK. Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden are Innovation Leaders whitch means that their innovation performance is well above that of the EU average.


Source: European Commission


Find more information or check a regional extension of the European Innovation Scoreboard.


Download the main report here. 


Deadline for Teaming call

Teaming is one of the European Union's tools that could help to less performing countries and regions in research and innovation to attain a competitive position in the global value chain. Teaming call addresses the challenge by supporting the creation new centres of excellence or upgrading the existing ones in low R&I performing countries, building on partnerships between leading scientific institutions and partner institutions in low R&I performing countries, that display the willingness to engage together on this purpose.

Succesfull project will receive a grant for 12 months to produce a detailed business plan for establishing or upgrading a Centre of Excellence. You can send your application to the Teaming Phase 1 call from Horizon 2020 programme until 15 November 2016. Find more information about the call here.


Investment fund ‘not helping EU13’

by Eleni Courea / published at:
The European Commission’s flagship investment scheme is imbalanced towards the EU’s richest countries, according to a report by the European Investment Bank.

The report, published on 5 October, flags up a distribution problem with Efsi funds. In total, 92 percent of the money Efsi has spent so far has gone to the 15 original countries in the bloc, leaving the 13 newest member states out of the picture.

The EIB report said that Italy, Spain and the UK have attracted the most support for infrastructure and innovation projects so far, whilst Germany, France and Italy received the most funding under the category of small and medium-sized entreprises (SMEs).

The conclusions mirror the narrative of EU research funding under Horizon 2020, which is skewed strongly in favour of western and central European nations. The Efsi programme, which began in 2014, is intended to promote economic growth across the continent, and the European Commission has pledged that a significant proportion of investment will go to R&D projects.

Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt told Euractiv on 5 October that the reason for the geographical imbalance was higher demand among richer EU members. In its statement, the EIB said: “The comparison between nominal investment volumes can be misleading as larger economies have more capacity to develop a greater number of viable projects.”

Nonetheless, Breidthardt told Euractiv that the Commission will seek to improve the distribution of Efsi funds within its plans to extend the programme. She said that, to encourage more participation from the 13 newest EU member states, the Commission has proposed “targeted technical assistance services at local level across the EU” from the European Investment Advisory Hub.

The Commission will also encourage more EIB activity in those countries underfunded by Efsi, Breidthardt said.

The Commission’s flagship investment scheme was launched with the aim of attracting €315 billion of private investment between 2015–17. To this purpose €21bn of public money was earmarked to create Efsi, which underwrites the riskier elements of the programme. The plans to expand the scheme will see it target €630bn in total spending by 2022.