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ERDF I3 – Innovation Investment Strand 2a – DIGITAL

The Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) instrument is a funding instrument under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) regulation aiming to encourage the development of European value chains by mobilising innovation ecosystems to scale up and commercialise interregional innovation projects.

Detailed budget below

Appeal framework

Institution European Commission
Sectors Finance Justice, Security, Defence Technology & Digital Territorial Development
Beneficiaries Association & NGO EU & International Organisation Local Authority & Affiliated Entity Research centre & university Smes & Start-Ups (< 249 Employees) State administration & affiliated entities
Regions European Union

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Priorities and funded actions


  • To create structured links between EU quadruple helix stakeholders;
  • To help ecosystems to overcome market failures, particularly by connecting demand and supply side;
  • To support companies building interregional innovation investment in shared S3 priority areas;
  • To accelerate innovation (demonstration activities needed to allow market uptake and scale up of innovative solutions);
  • To increase the capacities of less developed regions to participate in EU value chains contributing to cohesion policy objectives.


  • Digital economy innovation:
    • The deployment of innovative solutions for businesses digitalisation and digital services, including the use of artificial intelligence;
    • ICT up-take in SMEs applied to traditional and emerging sectors; B2B; B2C; Customer to Customer, including infrastructures and services to support this (digital innovation hubs, living labs, etc.);
    • Demonstration of innovative digital technologies in view of the commercialisation of research results and a better integration in EU value chains;
    • User driven innovation and valorisation of traceability and big data;
    • Companies reinforcing EU cybersecurity value chain and protecting from hacking, ransomware and identity theft;
    • “Digital based” open innovation, supporting entrepreneurial discovery processes and cooperation between academia and businesses in the framework of smart specialisation;
    • Digital skills for companies adopting innovative digital technologies (upskilling and reskilling) in the framework of investments relevant for Smart Specialisation.
  • Digital transformation of the public administration:
    • New or significantly upgraded services for e-government, including the take-up of Europe wide interoperable services which improve the efficiency of services delivered by public administrations to citizens, companies and other public bodies by using information and communication technologies such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity;
    • Investments in innovative solutions helping administrations to make services user-friendly, accessible and more interoperable. Those investments might include the demonstration of the validity of new digital technologies in view of the large-scale adoption of new IT systems.
  • Digitalisation and healthcare:
    • Innovative investments in security of health data across borders (including cybersecurity);
    • Investments related to the use of digital tools to stimulate prevention, enable feedback and interaction with the healthcare providers;
    • Investments connected the digitisation of healthcare systems, providing solutions to interoperability issues;
    • Investments in digital health infrastructure (needed for demonstration processes), telemedicine, m-health and other innovative solutions for personalised medicine;
    • Investments related to the acquisition of digital skills needed for the adoption of innovative technologies in healthcare.

Among financed activities

  • Advisory support for investment (developing or implementing interregional business and “go to market” investment plans in specific value chains);
  • Financial support for producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services such as demonstrating, testing and piloting activities by companies, large-scale product validation and market replication (new to Europe and new to the application sector);
  • Adaptation of existing prototypes (i.e. by combining two or more key enabling technologies) and tailoring them to the companies’ needs for the demonstration in real environment (ex-novo prototyping is not eligible);
  • Development of portfolios of projects for close-to-market investments that deploy new or improved technologies or processes;
  • Activities directly aiming at producing plans, arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services (adaptation to the companies’ needs);
  • Activities connecting or making complementary use of testing and demonstration facilities to accelerate market uptake and scale-up of
    innovation solutions in shared smart specialisation areas;
  • Innovation services for the development of the business investment interconnecting value chains;
  • Test beds related activities, needed to improve regulations and/or to remove barriers and bottlenecks to innovation;
  • Activities bringing innovative ideas and new products to the market.

Additional information

  • This call for proposals is an open call for proposals.
  • Initial duration of the project: between 30 and 36 months.


  • Be legal entities (public or private bodies);
  • Be established in one of the eligible countries;
  • The consortium must be composed by minimum 5 entities from 5 different regions in 3 eligible countries
  • Available call budget (for all three topics):
    • 2021: 36 005 271 euro
    • 2022: 32 897 448 euro
  • Maximum grant amount: between 2 million euro and 3 million euro
  • Co-financing rate: up to 70% of the total eligible costs

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