• Research agreements: grants now total 106 million

We had mentioned it during the convention "Lombardy Is Research" on 6 April, which brought together more than 800 experts in Palazzo Lombardia. Today it's official: the Regional Council met in Bergamo and decided to increase the financial allocation for the "Research and Innovation Agreements" Call by 66.7 million euros, which will be added to the 40 allocated at the launch of the programme. We can therefore fund 32 projects in total (20 more than the 12 already selected). They are interesting proposals that will greatly affect the lives of private citizens. The areas of specialisation covered by the funding are: Advanced Manufacturing, Health Industry, Eco-Industry, Agrifood, Smart Cities and Communities, Cultural Industries, Aerospace, Sustainable Mobility.

Our choice is dictated by precise reasons. First of all, the widespread participation of businesses, research centres and universities in this measure, capable of attracting 91 highly innovative content projects involving 370 small-, medium- and big-sized companies, 180 research organisations and a total of €560 million invested. Fifty-one projects were eligible for the negotiation phase, but the invitation to proceed in such a manner - given the initial budget of 40 million - was limited to the top 12, based on a ranking approved last February. The additional appropriation of 66.7 million has made it possible to add others, so the number of projects eligible for funding has risen to 32. There are 311 entities involved, including 110 research organisations and 201 businesses (64 large companies and 137 small- and medium-sized businesses) and 316 million in total investments.

Nor can we forget the many contacts that have arrived in recent weeks from the business world. Given the opportunities offered by the Agreements, our manufacturing base has sent us a clear invitation to invest more resources on this measure. We can provide oxygen and space to other great opportunities for development and greater prosperity not only for our businesses but for all private citizens. Growth in innovation, means growth in all of Lombardy.

Luca Del Gobbo
Council Member for the University, Research and Open Innovation of the Lombardy Region

RESEARCH AGREEMENTS
This is a new measure launched by the Lombardy Region which closed in January 2017 with the aim of fostering - through the signing of agreements between the Lombardy Region and other public or private entities - the development of research and innovation projects with a high impact in terms of investments, partners involved and effects on the competitiveness of the region. The projects (high-profile product or process innovation) had to be presented by a "network" consisting of at least one business (of any size) and a research centre and/or university. No fewer than 100 were submitted and 51 were admitted to the negotiation phase. They involved 311 entities, of which 110 research organisations and 201 companies, representing a value of 316 million euros. Ninety-four percent of these projects envisage the use of enabling technologies and 94% plan on patenting the product at the end of the project.

STEERING COMMITTEE FORMED
During the proceedings of the "Lombardy Is Research" convention the multidisciplinary Steering Committee envisaged by Law 29 was also formed. It will have the task of coordinating all regional policies concerning research, innovation and technology transfer. We will no longer see individual initiatives of the various councillors, but rather joint and shared actions that are the result of a comprehensive vision.

70 INNOVATIVE INITIATIVES IN 2016
In 2016, the Region contributed to the development of digital innovation in the cities, involving thirteen regional administrations, which have created 70 complementary initiatives. The Steering Committee will have to govern all these initiatives through a three-year Strategic Programme: a document that will indicate goals, timing and resources to be devoted to any policy that boosts research and innovation in our region.

10.5 BILLION IN INVESTMENTS
Lombardy is unique in the European landscape, investing more than 3% of GDP in research and innovation (about 10.5 billion euros).

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