Structural funds and regions

structural funds



Synergies with Structural Funds

Stakeholders and Member States Regional Authorities may benefit from synergies between the CSJU in the design of their Regional Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3) and Operational Programmes, and the design and implementation of their financial instruments.



The Europe 2020 strategy towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth will make significant progress by building on the synergy between the cohesion policy – European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) – and the excellence objectives within Horizon 2020. The fostering of synergies between these two policy instruments aims to maximise the quantity and quality of investments, thus ensuring a higher impact of the funds. The ESIF will invest approximately €100 billion in innovation and research in the period 2014-2020.

Article 20 of the Horizon 2020 Regulation and Article 37 of the Horizon 2020 rules for participation encourage synergies between Horizon 2020 and other European Union funds, such as ESIF. The Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking (CSJU) is called by its founding Council Regulation no. 558/2014 of 6 May 2014 to develop close interactions with ESIF to underpin smart specialisation efforts in the field of activities covered by the CSJU.

Hence, CSJU encourages synergies with ESIF by allowing complementary activities to be proposed by applicants to CSJU Calls and by amplifying the scope, adding parallel activities or continuing CSJU co-funded project/activities through ESIF in synergy with the Clean Sky 2 Programme and its technology roadmap [1]. The CSJU also encourages the use of ESIF to build and enhance local capabilities and skills in fields related to the Programme, to boost the level of intra-European competitiveness amongst stakeholders.

[1] The CSJU Work Plan, the CS2 Joint Technical Programme and the CS2 Development Plan should be regarded by interested authorities and stakeholders as instrumental in identifying possible areas of synergies.


The CSJU action plan

To facilitate the above, the CSJU has launched an action plan on synergies and is developing close interactions with interested Member States (MS) and Regions in Europe to discuss strategies and possible cooperation via a tailor-made approach and incorporating modalities depending on the level of interest and commitment which a Region may decide to engage with.

The aim of such cooperation has four potential benefits:

  • To strengthen R&I innovation capacity
  • To enhance the European dimension of the Regions in aeronautics
  • To identify areas of technical cooperation which could complement the Programme and support its overall objectives
  • To achieve a global leverage effect from synergies between ESIF and Clean Sky funding

While keeping the funding processes and rules of each competent authority separate, the purpose is to identify and apply mechanisms for ensuring synergies through ESIF in pertinent research and innovation projects from a specific member state or region with a view to maximising its impact via the JTI framework of CSJU projects.


Regional mapping

With the purpose of identifying potential interested actors, the CSJU is developing a mapping of MS and regions with an interest in engaging into cooperation with the CSJU, based on their Smart Specialisation Strategies and information available through other sources (such as the CSJU States' Representative Group, the RIS3 platform, the European Commission (DG RTD and DG REGIO), the EACP and the EU-funded AirTN Network action). Click here for more information.

The provisional mapping elaborated by the CSJU already demonstrates that many Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3) and Operational Programmes 2014-2020 include aeronautics or areas which correlate to the Clean Sky Programme (air transport, mobility, materials, composites, engines, manufactures, CO2 reduction etc.) as thematic areas/ priorities for ESIF funding.

In the first phase of this on-going action plan, it is notable that the interest raised comes not only from the more classic 'aeronautics regions' of Europe, but also from regions considering this as a potential way to increase their R&I capabilities in cross-cutting areas with possible market opportunities in aeronautics and European levels of cooperation and competitiveness of their stakeholders.


How to engage in cooperation with the CSJU

After the signature of the first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Midi-Pyrénées Region in France, on 25 February 2015, the CSJU went on to sign other MoUs with regions in Spain, Andalucía, Catalonia and Castilla-La Mancha; with Romania and the Czech Republic at a national level; with Campania, Italy; Flevoland and Zuid-Holland, both in the Netherlands; Västra Götaland and Östergötland regions, Sweden. The CSJU will develop a pilot phase for 2015-2016 with a limited number of MS/regions, in view of launching pilot projects and identifying best practices for further MS and regions.

Our approach is intended to be kept as simple as possible:

  • It is based on complementarity of projects, rather than on co-funding of a single project
  • It also acknowledges that the asynchronicity of the respective processes (calls, etc.) is a given – but not an obstacle

The signature of a MoU is not a pre-condition for developing synergies with the CSJU, nor does it confer any sort of competitive advantage to regional stakeholders in the CSJU calls. However the CSJU considers it important and effective to take a strategic approach and discuss in advance with MS and regional authorities ways to stimulate synergies based on the regional strategy/RIS3 and the applicable ESIF regional funding instruments to identify thematic objectives or align the regional funding instruments to support possible pilot projects.

List of MoUs signed by Clean Sky with Regions


High level scenarios for cooperation on synergies

National and regional authorities in charge of ESIF planning and the ESIF managing authorities are encouraged to consult the guidance available in this section, which provides a general overview on synergies. In particular the four high level scenarios for cooperation on synergies elaborated by the CSJU and to identify which could fit within their regional strategies and context in terms of local capabilities and level of participation or interest of stakeholders in the programme and its calls.


Calls for Proposals - how to include in the proposal complementary activities supported by European Structural and Investment Funds

Click here for more information.


For more information

The CSJU is available to provide, within the limits of its available resources, additional information related to the objectives and possible implementation of these four scenarios. The interested authorities can directly email the CSJU’s Legal and Strategic Adviser Bruno Mastantuono


Read more about the work of Clean Sky and other EU Public-Private Partnerships with synergies in the European Parliament magazine:

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