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Innovation: actions of the new Regional Strategy “S3” 2021-2027

Emphasis on support to technological transfer, digital transition, system resilience and more

redazione open innovation

redazione open innovation

Regione Lombardia

Digital transition, sustainable development, resilience of the economic system, stakeholder and citizen engagement policies. In addition, support to SMEs, to the link between the world of research and business, to the creation of technological hubs and living labs, and the review of priorities by means of Big Data analysis.

These are some of the main focuses identified for Research and Innovation in the document outlining Lombardy Region’s Strategy of Intelligent Specialisation for Research and Innovation - “S3” - for 2021-2027.

The text, which was approved by the Regional Executive on 30 December 2020, marks an important step in defining the investment priorities for R&I over the next seven-year period as per indications from the European Union. 

Europe calls for the adoption of regional strategies for innovation based on the specific advantages of each territory through a ‘bottom-up’ approach, and as a guide for planning and accompanying the processes of economic modernisation of the different regions. Specifically, the S3 2021-2027 calls for a response to new challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic: Research and Innovation will be critical to increasing competitiveness of the economic system, developing new competences and promoting sustainable production models. 

Beyond that, the S3 constitutes one of the conditions for enabling access to resources of the new European programmes 2021-2027.

Planned actions

The document of the new S3 contains ten chapters, preceded by an introduction on the new Cohesion Policy that the European Union has developed for the seven-year period 2021-2027.

Four lines of actions are envisaged in the Lombardy Region Strategy.

A first line of action encompasses a range of initiatives, all oriented towards promoting what can be enabling factors for Research and Innovation, for example: RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation) and Open Innovation, with special regard for new stakeholder and citizen engagement policies; digital transition and sustainable development; resilience and capacity of the Lombardy system to adapt to the rapid changes in the economic-productive and social framework, an action seen as even more critical for the post-pandemic period.

Again, the Region will promote simplification and streamlining of tools for financing research and innovation. It will also favour access to credit by SMEs, with expanded opportunities for regional financing and connection between businesses and public and private investors, including alternative instruments to banks, and initiatives to promote the emerging sector of Fintech. The Region will also support the presence of qualified Lombardy entities in the European and International networks to promote their participation in global value chains.

The second line of action focuses on technological transfer, and therefore on the connection between the world of research and the world of business.

Planned investments include those in strategic projects for large-scale industrial growth, and measures in support of new projects furthered by partnerships among research and business entities; support to infrastructure such as Hubs for technology and technological transfer on strategic issues, including digital, sustainable mobility, health and circular economy; support to the creation of pilot systems, demonstrators, living labs, and also start-ups and university spin-offs; joint collaborations with Lombardy universities; promotion of intellectual property, patents; andthe demand for innovation on the part of the Public Administration.

A third line of action will include investments for digital transition and the adoption of sustainable development models. This, for example, will include support to the development of infrastructures and strategic technologies – such as “cloud computing, data storage, supercomputing and computer security” –and the promotion of digital technologies and models of sustainable development in Lombardy SMEs and supply chains.

The fourth line of action will concentrate on the promotion of internationalisation of the Lombardy economic framework, with initiatives promoting flexible, adaptive and sustainable distribution models for the access of companies to international markets. At the same time, the Region will pursue actions aimed at strengthening the capability of the territory to attract and maintain talents and technological competences.

A shared and innovative working method

The document is intended as the conclusion of a course of action, introduced by the communication from Vice President Fabrizio Sala to the Regional Executive in early April 2020. Coordinated by the Directorate General of Research, Innovation, Export and Internationalisation, this course of action involved, in addition to various Directorate Generals of the Region, stakeholders and citizens, through a public consultation launched on this platform to gather feedback regarding obstacles, opportunities and new challenges relative to regional R&I.

The implementation of S3 2021-2027 can also count on an innovative methodology based on artificial intelligence, which will make it possible to carry out descriptive and predictive analyses of available data, and will provide elements in support of the periodic definition of objectives that are realistically achievable, in addition to elements useful for inverting trends that limit the capacity for innovation of the Lombardy ecosystem.

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