The Commission Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (DG RTD), the Joint Research Centre (DG JRC), and the Directorate-General for Growth (DG Grow), along with the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG Regio) are leading EU work in supporting sustainable innovation and local businesses. The use of innovative technologies in the Arctic has the potential to bring broad social and economic benefits both within and beyond the Arctic region. The EU is supporting innovation in the Arctic through a variety of activities.
The EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon 2020 supports actions that could speed up the translation of research outcomes into cold-climate technologies and services with commercial potential. InnovFin - EU Finance for innovators is one such Horizon 2020 instrument; a joint initiative with the European Investment Bank Group, to help Arctic-related research and innovation projects get access to the market.
The INTERACT (DG Regio) cooperation programmes, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), provide free advice, services and products to support Interreg projects and facilitate exchanges between partners.
Collaboration between EU-funded programmes
Cross-programme collaboration is encouraged and mandated by the European Commission and the EU High Representative in the Joint Communication A new integrated EU policy for the Arctic. Ultimately, the collaboration should provide input for establishing research and investment priorities in the European Arctic.
Cross-programme collaboration is coordinated by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. Participating programmes are Interreg Botnia-Atlantica, Interreg Nord, Kolarctic CBC, and Karelia CBC. The collaboration will consider including other programmes. With a view to enabling high complementarity with other policy initiatives and stakeholder organisations operating in the Arctic, these organisations will be consulted or involved where appropriate.
The programmes are working on:
- more informed/coordinated project selection and thereby a better allocation and better use of the programme funding;
- clearer and more integrated information for potential applicants about funding opportunities, and a wider network of potential collaboration partners;
- more concrete and relevant project outputs meeting the needs of Arctic stakeholders, and better involvement of these stakeholders;
- better promotion of results; more targeted, on a more aggregated level, and to a wider audience;
- more efficient programme management, by pooling resources and achieving a wider impact;
- a more strategic approach to impact policy development, positioning the programmes for the post-2020 period, and potentially having a common priority based on Arctic values.
You can find more information on the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme website.
The EU is also funding research and innovation projects in the Arctic through the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) programmes.
Supporting local businesses
The EU offers free support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the Enterprise Europe Network which helps make the most of business opportunities in the EU and beyond. The Network will continue to ‘coach’ Arctic SMEs at their request. Furthermore, the EU invests in businesses operating in the Arctic through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The EU contributes European Structural and Investment ESI funds to kick-start growth, job creation and investment across Europe, notably in the least developed areas and sectors with growth potential.
European Investment Advisory Hub and Project Portal is a 'one-stop-shop' for investors or project promoters and public managing authorities to provide advice at EU and local levels on project identification, development and preparation.
Supporting innovation and local businesses in the Arctic in this way contributes to 'promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all' (UN Sustainable Development Goal 8).