The aim of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is to help fund actions aimed at promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion, correcting the main regional imbalances in the EU through sustainable development and the structural adaptation of the regional economies. To help meet this objective, one of the priorities of the investment goes to strengthening research, technological development and innovation.
The European Union funds activities and investments aimed at research and innovation through the European structural and investment funds, based on criteria of economic, social and territorial cohesion. Their aim is to stimulate competitiveness and promote economic change through innovation and the knowledge society.
Another aim of this initiative is to strengthen cross-border and interregional cooperation in order to encourage the exchange of experiences.
These funds supplement the investment made, so that part of the expense is financed by European structural and investment funds and the rest from State funds.
The programming for the European structural and investment funds is organised into seven-year periods. The current programming period covers 2014 to 2020. During this period, Catalonia has access to 808 million euros in European structural & investment funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), specifically through the Catalonia Operational Programme 2014-2020 (CAT), of which 327 million will go to promoting research, technological development and innovation.
The Secretariat for Universities and Research has allocated 13 million euros to different action programmes within it area of authority, of which 50% will be allocated to investment in research and innovation infrastructure. The rest will go to knowledge transfer and valorisation and cooperation between universities and public research centres and companies. As the ERDF co-finances 50% of the eligible cost, this equates to an overall investment for the system of up to 272 million euros.
In the 2007-2013 programming period, the Secretariat for Universities and Research received 102.6 million euros in funds from the ERDF for investment and activities in research, technological development and innovation, with a total of 64 projects and a total investment of 205.1 million euros.
The ERDF Catalonia Operational Programme 2014-2020 (CAT) establishes the basic lines of action to program and implement ERDF funds in Catalonia In this sense, the Directorate General for Research promotes various actions, directly or through the AGAUR. At present the following have be carried out:
1) European funds for unique institutional R&D infrastructure projects
The purpose of this call is to select singular institutional projects for the construction, purchase, rehabilitation and/or significant extension of buildings for R&D infrastructure that enable the generation of research of excellence, the attraction of talent and the development of knowledge transfer and capitalisation activities eligible for ERDF co-financing. Call for applications 2015
2) European funds for cooperation projects for the purchase of scientific equipment
The purpose of this call is to select cooperation projects to create, build, purchase and improve shared scientific and technological equipment and platforms eligible for ERDF co-financing. Cooperation projects are those that respond to the needs of different institutions and that aims to prioritize and fund those needs jointly. The purpose of the scientific and technological facilities, equipment and platforms must be to further scientific and technological excellence as well as facilitate knowledge transfer and capitalisation processes. Call for applications 2015
3) Knowledge Industry Programme
Furthermore, certain calls of the Knowledge Industry Programme that aim to encourage the development of new science-based companies (spin-offs) originating from the research carried out at universities and research centres may also be co-financed with ERDF funding (more specifically, the programme is to consist of three phases— Llavor (Idea), Product and Market). Calls for applications managed by the AGAUR (CAT).