Widening and deepening engagement in R&I

Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence is one of the sub-programmes of Horizon Europe, aiming to contribute to building research and innovation capacity for countries lagging behind. According to the Regional Innovation Scoreboard from 2023 and 9th Cohesion Report from 2024, despite the cohesion efforts, disparities in research and innovation performance across EU regions have been persistent and increasing. As the innovation divide continues to grow, widening measures remain of strategic importance to increase participation from underperforming countries. Low engagement of stakeholders from the widening countries in the Horizon programmes has been one of the key bottlenecks on the way to realising the full potential of the European R&I ecosystem as a whole.


ERRIN messages for Horizon Europe WIDERA Work Programme 2023-2024

June 2022

ERRIN's work on widening

Widening and deepening engagement in R&I was identified as one of ERRIN’s 20th anniversary priorities in 2021 and later as one of two key network priorities, next to EU Missions. The overarching objective of ERRIN’s activities in this area is to achieve a more inclusive ecosystem approach in R&I by raising diversity in regional research and innovation activities, as well as deepening engagement where collaboration between different stakeholders needs further encouragement.

Following this aim, we have been organising dedicated thematic meetings and discussions, identifying areas where further support is required, influencing policy and implementing practical steps for higher engagement internally. We have been also working on strengthening dialogue with the European Commission and Member States through involvement in the ERA Policy Action 16 “Improve EU-wide access to excellence”. Moreover, ERRIN started a reflection process on the Week of Innovative Regions in Europe conference (WIRE) and its potential role as a yearly European policy forum for regional and local R&I ecosystems. This could create connections between regional ecosystems with different innovation performance levels, making the EU R&I ecosystem more coherent as a whole.

ERRIN event on organising a regional innovation ecosystem

ERRIN's policy messages

Recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of widening efforts include:

  • Addressing reasons for lower engagement of widening countries and further engaging the research and innovation community in the widening countries to co-design measures and calls tackling innovation divide
  • Introducing further support measures at national level
  • Including widening elements across Horizon programme as a cross-cutting issue, especially under Pillar II. This could be done via specific criteria, for example, by ensuring representation from widening countries in selected calls through user engagement, by asking demonstrators or pilots to cover stakeholders from the widening countries
  • Proposing an adjusted approach to the Week of Innovative Regions in Europe (WIRE) as a European policy forum for regional and local R&I ecosystems

Latest Updates

  • By Ewa Chomicz

ERRIN two-page input on FP10 for the attention of the Expert Group

As the work towards the next EU Framework Programme for R&I (FP10) continues, ERRIN is pleased to share its two-page input for the attention of the Expert Group on the interim evaluation of Horizon Europe. The document is a concise compilation of the reflections on FP10 done at ERRIN so far, highlighting topics of key importance. Work on a series of broader input papers is underway.

  • By Ewa Chomicz

Feedback opportunity for Horizon Europe work programme 2025

The European Commission opened an opportunity to provide input for the development of the Horizon Europe ‘main’ work programme 2025. Submitted responses will contribute to the co-design of the work programme 2025, covering all six clusters, research infrastructures, European innovation ecosystems, the five EU Missions and the New European Bauhaus facility. The deadline for feedback is 6 May 2024 midday, CEST.

  • By Ewa Chomicz

NEIA implementation report & Regional Innovation Valleys update

On 20 March, the Commission published the first report on the state of play of the New European Innovation Agenda, following its launch in July 2022. The document outlines the progress and achievements with regard to the 25 actions under Agenda’s five flagships, including the Regional Innovation Valleys. On the same day, an EU R&I Days debate on the way forward for RIVs was also held.

  • By Ewa Chomicz

Horizon Europe strategic plan 2025-2027 is out

On 20 March, the Commission adopted the second Horizon Europe strategic plan. The plan sets out three key strategic orientations for the EU's research and innovation funding for the last three years of the programme (2025-2027). Find out what novelties the new strategic plan brings.

  • By Ewa Chomicz

Call for short position papers on HE & FP10 from the Commission Expert Group on the Interim Evaluation of Horizon Europe

The Expert Group on the Interim Evaluation of Horizon Europe, which will advise the Commission on the future European Framework Programme for R&I (FP10), is calling for 2-page position papers from institutional actors addressing four predefined questions. The aim is to further involve key stakeholders in the Group's work, benefiting from their insights and feedback.

  • By Ewa Chomicz

Marching towards FP10 – ERRIN activity update

As we enter March and approach the European R&I Days, several ERRIN activities planned for 2024 with a link to FP10 have already taken place, and more are on their way. Have a look at an update with the outcomes of our recent work on the next European Framework Programme for R&I, next steps and opportunities to get involved.