Capacity Building Strand 2b (I3-2023-CAP2b)

  • Action type: I3-PJG I3 Project Grants
  • Opening date: 15 November 2023
  • Closing time: 14 November 2024 17:00 (Europe/Brussels)
  • Budget per project: € 1 500 000 of total € 13 000 000
  • Estimated number of projects funded: 10
  • Project duration: between 18 and 24 months
  • Official website


The Interregional Innovation Investments Instrument (I3) creates linkages for interregional collaboration bringing together actors from different EU regions investing in joint innovation projects along S3 priorities and close to the market. In line with the New European Innovation Agenda, the actions supported in this call for proposals targeting “Capacity Building – Strand 2b” will test new approaches for increasing the capacity of regional innovation ecosystems in less developed regions to collaborate in EU value chains. They shall also facilitate the interregional cooperation between regional innovation ecosystem actors to increase their capacity to participate in other calls under the Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) Instrument, e.g. for the submission of proposals under the I3 Instrument Strands 1 and 2a.  

The overall objective of the I3 Strand 2b is to build capacity in less developed regions to develop and strengthen their regional innovation ecosystems and value chains through coordinated and interlinked investments in several regions. In particular, this call for proposals aims to improve the capacity of public authorities and innovation intermediaries (e.g. clusters) to support companies in the identification of investment portfolios at an interregional scale e.g. in particular by tackling EU burning challenges and fostering deep tech solutions.  

In particular, this call for proposals aims to improve the capacity of public authorities and innovation intermediaries (e.g. clusters) to support companies in the identification of investment portfolios at an interregional scale e.g. in particular by tackling EU burning challenges and fostering deep tech solutions.

Priority shall be given to actions for capacity building and investment project piloting related to the green and the digital transition and to smart manufacturing including deep tech innovation, e.g. (non exhaustive list):  

  • Creation and reinforcement of an interregional innovative and resilient ecosystem (e.g. through innovation ecosystem governance empowerment); 
  • Company engagement and identification of a pipeline of investment projects,  
  • Increasing investment readiness and capacity to build interregional business and investment plans
  • Exploring the use of technical assistance from the mainstream programmes to structure and reinforce the local ecosystems internally (identification of specific challenges to address fragmentation, identification of the innovation potential, ecosystem building and animation, company involvement, putting in place the right framework conditions based on best practices identified) in order to develop the capacities to connect the local ecosystems at interregional level; 
  • Connecting the less developed regions with other ecosystems (reinforcing connections with relevant platforms and EU networks, mobilising the ecosystem in the framework of S3 partnerships) and integration them in EU value chains
  • Building capacities to understand value chains articulation and implementation

As output, Strand 2b projects refer to the concrete experimentation of new approaches, solutions and good practices to engage in interregional innovation processes mobilising ecosystems and in particular SMEs. Projects are expected to deliver a pipeline of potential interregional investments as well as business and investment plans. The strengthening of the competitiveness and of the resilience of EU innovation systems will help Europe to face particularly societal and economic challenges on its transition to a healthy planet and a new digital world.


The I3 Instrument has several Strands. Strand 1 of the I3 Instrument targets consortia of innovation actors from regions (of different levels of development and innovation performance) with shared or complementary smart specialisation areas, which are ready to make investments in interregional innovation projects. Strand 2a focuses on supporting interregional innovation investments aiming at developing value chains in less developed regions and reinforcing the integration of innovation actors in EU value chains. Strand 2b aims to strengthen regional innovation ecosystems and build their capacity to develop business cases for interregional innovation projects.

The subject of this call, Strand 2b, supports co-creation dynamics between all parties in the project development on an equal basis regardless of their development status. Participation of transition regions and more developed regions is encouraged to less developed regions in building their capacity and experience to participate in European value chains and joint innovation investment projects.

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