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I3 Instrument Boosts Cross-Border Collaboration in Europe 

The I3 Instrument represents a significant step towards fostering cross-border collaboration and driving innovation-led growth in Europe. With its focus on addressing common challenges and leveraging regional strengths, the initiative is poised to unlock new opportunities and drive sustainable development across Europe’s diverse regions. 

The European Union launched the Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) Instrument in 2021 to catalyze cross-border collaboration and spur innovation across Europe. With a budget of €1.5 billion allocated for the period 2021-2027, it supports collaborative projects that drive regional growth, enhance competitiveness, and address common challenges through innovation. As stated in the I3 Instrument website, the main objective of the instrument is to 

  • encourage the development of European value chains by mobilising innovation ecosystems to scale up and commercialise interregional innovation projects 
  • through the linkage to mainstream Cohesion policy operational programmes, mobilise additional investments in the selected priority areas and enhance the cooperation with partners from different Member States 
  • strengthen complementarities between different EU, national and regional funding instruments. 

The instrument provides funding for mature joint innovation projects and supports stakeholders involved in smart specialisation to develop and set up such projects in value-chain investment portfolios. 

The I3 Instrument, part of the wider I3 Initiative under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is part of the broader efforts of the European Union to promote cohesion, competitiveness, and sustainable development across its regions. It is designed to facilitate partnerships between regions, industry stakeholders, research institutions, and local authorities.  

By fostering collaboration, knowledge exchange and investment in innovation, the initiative aims to accelerate the development and uptake of innovative solutions in key priority areas to create a more resilient and prosperous Europe. This represents a significant opportunity for regions across Europe to collaborate, share expertise, and leverage resources to address common challenges and drive sustainable growth. 

Through this Instrument, regions can access funding for collaborative projects that focus on areas such as digitalization, green transition, smart specialization, social innovation, and entrepreneurship. The projects supported are expected to demonstrate tangible impacts on regional development, job creation, and economic resilience. 

As an I3 Instrument-funded project, I4-GREEN aims to drive and boost green, circular, and social tech deployment through joint investments, to ultimately reduce the EU dependence on imports of Critical Raw Materials and the negative impact on the environment of their extraction and processing. 

Besides, I4-GREEN coordinator Santiago Cuesta López, from the ICAMCyL Foundation, has participated recently in the Coordinators Day for the I3 Instrument and sharing the I4GREEN project experience, in Brussels.
The European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) gathered in this event 34 highly innovative projects across Europe.

The I3 instrument is implemented by the European Innovation Council and SMEs executive agency (EISMEA) based on a biannual work programme. 

For more information, visit the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) official  Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) Instrument website