Working Group Leaders

Representatives of Brussels-based offices leading the work of Innovation & Investment Working Group.

Innovation & Investment WG Leader


Gabriele Pedrini

The Autonomous Province of Trento

Innovation & Investment WG Leader


Marie Vaugeois

Occitanie Europe

Wim De Kinderen


Wim De Kinderen

Brainport Eindhoven EU Office Brussels

Innovation & Investment

As stated in the mission letter by Ms Ursula Von Der Leyen to the Commissioner for the Internal Market, Mr Thierry Breton, “Europe’s industry provides a livelihood for millions, and is a driver of jobs, growth and competitiveness”. However, only a single market in line with the social market approach, which ensures it adaptation to the modern economy and to new business models, will allow the EU’s industry, small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow, scale up and employ more people.

The Innovation & Investment Working Group aims to monitor the main initiatives put in place by the European institutions under the priority “an economy that works for the people” and more specifically targeting SMEs, which have a key role in thriving regional innovation ecosystems as they represent 99% of all businesses and account for 85% of new jobs created in the last five years.

Last Working Group Meetings

Last Working Group Meetings


Webinar: Financing green transition

Agnieszka Wieczorek Jetha

In light of the current COVID-19 crisis, the event will be organised as a webinar. We thank you in advance for your understanding. Please register via this link. If you have already signed up, you


Postponed: Improve innovative SMEs access to finance: new SME Strategy and alternative financing models

Ilaria d'Auria

In light of the current COVID-19 concerns in Brussels, we regret to inform you that this Working Group meeting will be postponed. We will communicate the new date as soon as possible.   Join us for

WG Events

WG Events

Opportunities to tackle the COVID-19 Crisis through Innovation Procurement

This one-hour webinar provides guidance to public buyers on how to proceed in the short- and middle/long-term periods in procuring the supplies and services required. The webinar offered through EAFIP will be hosted by experts from Corvers & Vtrek. Click here for more information & registrationThe webinar will be available for a limited number of attendees, so don’t hesitate to register upon interest.

Postponed: Improve innovative SMEs access to finance: new SME Strategy and alternative financing models

In light of the current COVID-19 concerns in Brussels, we regret to inform you that this Working Group meeting will be postponed. We will communicate the new date as soon as possible.   Join us for the first Innovation and Investment Working Group meeting of the year. The meeting will be the occasion to discuss the Working Group's meeting scope, with an enhanced focus on the SME component of regional innovation ecosystems: the Working Group Leaders will present the Annual Plan, welcoming suggestions and integrations from the WG members. Following this internal exchange, the participants…

Innovative procurement in small municipalities for digital and circular transformation

The Swedish municipalities of Ystad, Trelleborg and Skurup will share their thoughts on innovation procurement in small municipalities for digital and circular transformation at a seminar next month.  The three municipalities will discuss how, by working together efficiently, it is possible to use innovation procurement as a tool to develop and share digitised public service resources. The seminar hopes to equip attendees with the ability to transform good ideas into smart solutions within the public sector. For the agenda and registration, click here.    

Place-based innovation ecosystems: why context matters

A workshop asking 'is there a relationship between innovation and place-based conditions?' will take place in Brussels in March. The question will be tackled by the Joint Research Centre, in partnership with the Committee of the Regions' dedicated research line on Place-based Innovation Ecosystems (PIEs).  The case-studies orientated research, formed from five different PIEs in EU countries and one US country, will be presented at the event. The workshop will scrutinise the key enabling conditions needed for each investigated local innovation ecosystems to flourish.  The case studies that…

Free entrepreneurship workshop for researchers on creating Innoven-driven enterprises

The European Young Innovators Forum (EYIF), together with the National University of Ireland Galway, IESE Business School, Venture Hub, RomaTre University and Translated, are presenting an event as part of the STARTED project. The research-focused workshop will offer training by members of the STARTED project to empower and equip researchers with the skills needed to develop their entrepreneurial skills. The aim is to promote and ecourage innovation and entrepreneurship in research and design.  It is an opportunity not only to gain new, practical skills but to network with other innovators…

Northern Netherlands in Transition Working Conference

The decision by the Dutch government to stop extracting natural gas from the Groningen gas field will have major economic implications for the Northern Netherlands. To tackle these challenges, the four largest Northern cities have started a trajectory with theJoint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC). The main goal of this trajectory is  to develop a concrete Action Roadmap that prepares the Northern economy and labour market for the upcoming energy transition.   To help us draft this Roadmap, we have invited experts from regions that faced similar economic transitions to…

WG Related Content

WG Related Content

EIT Health opens 'Rapid Response' option for new COVID-19 proposals

EIT Health has opened the 'Rapid Response' request option for incoming proposals in a bid to support the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  New projects or extensions of existing projects that address the COVID-19 outbreak in an innovative way will be able to create a short-term impact in light of the ongoing crisis with scalability in the future.  The projects must: Address COVID-19 with an innovation element Have a means to be implemented quickly (generate impact by the end of 2020) Generate an internationally scalable impact Be grounded in scientific and technological…

Commission extends Temporary Framework to accelerate coronavirus research

Recently adopted state aid rules are to accelerate research related to coronavirus research and development. The Temporary Framework was adopted in mid-March 2020 to enable Member States to accelerate research, testing and production of products related to coronavirus. The European Commission has now announced that projects working on COVID-19 with the Seal of Excellence will be affected by this rule change, meaning that they will not have to verify, at Member State level, their relevance to COVID-19 again. Such projects are now eligible for aid intensities that are far high than regular…

New pilot programme: ESCALAR

The European Investment Fund has launched a new pilot programme to address the financing gap experienced by high growth European companies (scale-ups). The European Scale-up Action for Risk Capital programme invests funds with an investment focus on scale-ups. It is prepared to support new funds and existing funds.  Up to €100 million for a single fund commitment is possible, meaning that ESCALAR's investment is intended to significantly increase fund resources, creating greater capacity for follow-on investments in scale-ups.  It will work by making equity investments in funds, and side…

Additional measures to mobilise investements and resources - CRII+

To complement the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, the Commission has announced a new, complementary package. The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+) package introduces flexibility to ensure non-utilised support can be enacted.  The flexibility is provided through the three cohesion policy funds (the European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund and Cohesion Fund), transfers between different categories of regions and through thematic concentration. Additionally, there will be the possibility for a 100% EU co-financing rate for cohesion policy…

Immediate release of funds to tackle COVID-19

The Council adopted legislative act to rapidly react to the surrounding pandemic amending the rules of the structural and investment funds. According to the regulation concerning the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, there are several mechanisms that will enter into force on 1 April. The Member States will get access to €37 billion of cohesion money to strengthen healthcare systems, as well as support small and medium-sized enterprises, short-term working schemes, and community-based services under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative. They will also have more flexibility…

European Investment Bank proposes package in response to COVID-19

Following the strain placed on the European economy by the rapid spread of the new coronavirus, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has proposed a plan to mobilise €40 billion of financing. The aim of the package will be to alleviate liquidity and working capital constraints for SMEs and mid-caps. The EIB Group, including the European Investment Fund, which specialises in SME support, will work with financial intermediaries in EU member states as well as in partnership with national promotional banks to bring about the financial package. The proposed package consists of: - Dedicated…

Latest Updates

  • By Hilary Webb

EIT Crisis Response Initiative launched

EIT has launched the EIT Crisis Response Initiative as part of the EU's collective response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

  • By Hilary Webb

European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) Award applications re-open

Applications for the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) Award have re-opened with the 2021 and 2022 application process being merged for the EER label to be extended over two years.

  • By Hilary Webb

EIT Manufacturing: Gazelle Accelerator programme

EIT Manufacturing is calling for participation in a Call of Interest for SMEs and start-ups as part of the Gazelle Accelerator programme.

  • By Hilary Webb

Additional €150 million for EIC to fund coronavirus innovations

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Pilot now has an extra €150 million to work with as it supports game-changing innovation in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

  • By Simon De Wachter

Innovation in Flanders to combat the SARS-COV-2 virus or its derived effects

The Flemish Department of Economy, Science and Innovation has published an overview of the ongoing initiatives in Flanders to combat the coronavirus and its derived effects.

  • By Hilary Webb

Commission extends Temporary Framework to accelerate coronavirus research

Recently adopted state aid rules are to accelerate research related to coronavirus research and development.