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 Hilary Webb

European Innovation Ecosystem roundtable: fostering common understanding

ERRIN, together with the Helsinki EU Office and Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, is organising a webinar on European Innovation Ecosystems. The round table brings together different innovation ecosystem stakeholders and several European Commission services to share their views on place-based innovation ecosystems.

  • By Etienne Rodzinka-Verhelle

Info session - Policy tools and services for clusters and regions

The European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) and ERRIN are organising an info session on the support services provided by the ECCP to cluster managers and to policy makers.

  • By Agnieszka Wieczorek Jetha

I&I WG coffee meeting: Joint Cluster Initiative and European Innovation Ecosystems

We are happy to welcome you to the next meeting of the Innovation & Investment Working Group, which will focus on the Joint Cluster Initiative (Single Market Programme) as well as on the European Innovation Ecosystems (Horizon Europe programme). The meeting aims to provide information about the JCI and EIE, and will then be followed by a moderated discussion on the different project opportunities they entail.