Competitive and Innovation Framework Programme, functioning for the period 2007-2013, "supports innovation activities, provides better access to finance and delivers business support services in the regions" with a budget of € 3.621 millions. The CIP is divided in three operational programmes: The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP), the Information Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT-PSP) and the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme (IEE).
The EIP aims to create framework conditions that promote innovation and allow bringing ideas to market, developing new forms of business support, for SMEs and especially start-ups, focusing on a better access to finance thanks to several schemes of financial instruments as equity finance and guarantee facilities. All the CIP financial instruments are implemented for the Commission by the European Investment Fund (EIF) on a trust basis.
Several initiatives follow the purpose about boosting innovation:
PRO INNO Europe ® , in favor of policy cooperation, with the ultimate objective to optimise and leverage complementarities among the various innovation support measures in Europe, at regional, national or European level. The integrated policy approach includes policy analysis, offering benchmarking of innovation performance, observing major innovation trends, matching world-wide knowledge and contacts to facilitate dialogue among public authorities, industry and academia. More targeted to policy cooperation, there are activities as stimulating transnational innovation policy cooperation and giving incentives for joint innovation actions.
Europe INNOVA aims to create partnership platforms among European innovation professionals, while IPR helpdesk should give assistance on intellectual property issues for EU funded projects. Enterprise Europe Network function is providing information (that is, about market opportunities and European legislation), guidance (that is, finding business partners through technology cooperation database) and training (that is, developing research capacities through synergies among different research actors) on the benefits to SMEs and business support providers in Europe.
The EIP is particularly targeted to eco-innovation; specific funds are oriented on the creation of innovative products and services preventing pollution and stimulating a responsible use of natural resources; as an example, a support is given to the first application of the best eco-innovative products helping reduce critical barriers. Importance of networks is remarked, especially between national and regional actors to allow exchanging best practice schemes. In add to this a large amount of the EIP initiatives are focused on encouraging entrepreneurship culture in Europe, as the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs and the European SME Week.
The ICT-PSP promotes the diffusion of the ICTs and the exploitation of digital content across Europe, by governments, citizens and particularly SMEs, helping decrease barriers as lack of interoperability and market fragmentation. ICT-PSP pilot actions involve several areas, as ICT for health, ageing and inclusion, digital libraries, ICT for improved public services, ICT for energy efficiency and smart mobility, multilingual web and Internet evolution. Networking to share experiences and monitoring the Information Society progresses are also supported.
The IEE encourages the dissemination of clean and sustainable solutions following three main objectives, that include diffusion of energy efficiency and rational use of natural sources, expanding the application of renewable energy sources and stimulating energy diversification, boosting energy efficiency. The programme aims to create better conditions in order to reach the Europe 2020 targets for a more sustainable energy future in areas as transports, energy-efficient buildings, industry, consumer products. A large part of the programme is financed by annual calls for proposals.


Editor: Marianna RONCHINI

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