European & place-based innovation ecosystems


Building an effective European research and innovation policy depend on strong interconnected research and innovation ecosystems embedded in regions and cities. Innovation happens in places and there are specific local conditions that enable ecosystems to flourish. ERRIN supports enhancing local and regional ecosystems and working towards achieving a less fragmented European innovation ecosystem. Supporting collaboration between different stakeholders – public administrations, universities, research organisations, companies, clusters and civil society – at regional level to strengthen ecosystems, as well as collaboration between ecosystems, are both essential to reach that goal.


Innovation ecosystems in context

The new multiannual financial framework (2021-2017) places increasing importance on the place-based dimension and includes several programmes and instruments that are developed around ecosystem thinking requiring the engagement of multiple stakeholders and embracing quadruple helix or quintuple helix collaboration. Digital Innovation Hubs (Digital Europe Programme), European Innovation Ecosystems Action (Horizon Europe) and Interregional Innovation Investments (ERDF), are examples of such developments. ERRIN has actively contributed to all these instruments.

In addition four out of the five Horizon European Missions have a clear place-based dimension and propose implementation mechanisms that require multi-stakeholder collaboration. For example, the cities mission proposes the creation of a ‘climate city contract’ that will bring together the key stakeholders within the city as well as the levels of government – all working towards climate neutrality by 2030. The Starfish Mission proposes to launch area based lighthouses and demonstrators that also require new collaborative approaches.  

ERRIN also follows with interest the work currently underway in the framework of the renewed ERA and the ERA Forum for Transition to put forward a coherent strategy for involving all stakeholders in strengthening Europe's research and innovation policy. In this context, a dedicated joint policy action on ERA Hubs is under development. The objective of this action is to maximise value from knowledge creation, circulation, use, by strengthening territorial cohesion, place-based growth and regional development. Ideally ERA Hubs could support organisations – and people – who are able to bring together different stakeholders, join up public and private spheres, break existing silos – also when it comes to synergies and complementarities between funding programmes. Read ERRIN's written input for the Forum for Transition on the ERA Hubs roll-out here.

Key funding instruments supporting ecosystem thinking

Latest Updates

  • By Etienne Rodzinka-Verhelle

European Innovation Ecosystems and ERA Hubs: call for interest

ERRIN is launching a survey aimed at gathering views from the network’s stakeholders on how the notions of ecosystems can be rolled-out in practice, and how their interconnectedness can pilot the ERA Hub concept. The survey will help us identify regions interested to join the next HE call on Interconnected Innovation Ecosystems.

  • By Hilary Webb

Stakeholder survey on Europe's innovation ecosystem

The European Commission is running a survey to gather views on challenges faced by European innovation ecosystem actors, their future opportunities and expectations.

  • By Hilary Webb

Expert sought for capacity building session on Innovation Ecosystems

Maritime Technology Cluster FVG, through its participation in the InnovaMare project, has an open call for experts for its remote capacity building session on the subject of innovation ecosystems. 

  • By Matthew Broadbent

Connecting social innovation in Scotland and the UK

How can we create a more connected UK social innovation ecosystem with stronger transnational ties to Europe and beyond? This event will mark the beginning of the SI Connect initiative in the UK and will bring together social innovation leaders, researchers and practitioners in Scotland.

  • By Anna Tranberg

The role of UAS in sparsely populated areas & regional innovation ecosystems

Universities of applied sciences play a pivotal role in regional innovation ecosystems connecting a wide range of partners, which is especially crucial in sparsely populated areas. Join this lunch session to explore the topic in more detail, hear about best practices and related European funding opportunities.

  • By Hilary Webb

Online info day on 'European Innovation Ecosystems' and 'Startup Europe'

The European Innovation Council (EIC) and the SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) are together organising an informative webinar on two funding programmes.