EU stimulating participation of regions in knowledge economy

The Commission grants 2.5 million euro to the “Regions of Knowledge” action programme, boosting the involvement of European regions in creating a knowledge-based economy.

On 1 August, the Commission will launch the "Regions of Knowledge" pilot action to support innovative projects in regions that grant the areas of human resources, know how and R&D a key role in the development of their regional economies. The programme receives a budget of 2.5 million euro for the first year.

"Regions of Knowledge" recognises the crucial role of the regions in developing theEuropean Research Area (ERA) and driving economic growth. Research shows that there is a positive relationship between a region's spending on R&D and its overall wealth. Yet, the performance of the EU regions in research activities and realising the economic benefits of the knowledge-based economy varies widely, with spendings on R&D currently between 0.5 per cent and 3 per cent of their GDP. The EU aims for an increase of itsinvestment in research to 3 per cent by 2010.

Projects that will be supported include technology audits, developing economic and technological future models at regional level, initiatives to promote university involvement with the local economy, mentoring between technologically advanced and less favoured regions, as well as awareness-raising actions focusing on the role of knowledge as a booster of regional development.

The call for proposals will be published on 1 August in the Official Journal. The deadline for proposals is mid-September 2003, and to receive funding projects must involve bodies or entities from at least three European countries.


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