Structural funds and regions

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Regional Dimension of Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking
and Synergies with European Structural Investment Funds

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 European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) and to underpin smart specialisation efforts in the field of activities covered by the CSJU.



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The Europe 2020 strategy towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth will make significant progress by building on the synergies 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 from the period 2014-2020.

The increase of the innovation and competitiveness-related budgets under EU cohesion policy over the past decade is of utmost importance to ensure optimal synergies between the funds as a result of the increasing competitive pressure from global markets and to maximise impact and efficiency of public funding. The European Parliament and the Council has made it clear that this approach is no longer a "nice to have" but a "need to implement".

In this context, 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. To achieve this, it is crucial to align strategies and implementation modalities and complement existing and future roadmaps.

Synergies need preparation and efforts at all stages of programming and implementation and by all actors involved. To achieve synergies all levels and stages of the programming and implementation need to be addressed i.e.,

  • Firstly, starting at the strategic level with awareness and understanding of the opportunities offered by different EU programmes, the development of smart specialisation strategies and EU level strategies and plans.
  • Secondly, the development of work programmes and work plans in the framework of Horizon 2020, and the preparation of the Partnership Agreements and of ESIF programmes and frameworks (including the choice of priorities, specific objectives, types of actions and beneficiaries).
  • Finally, the set-up of the implementation mechanisms, project selection processes, information services, guidance to potential beneficiaries, monitoring of the implementation, etc.

Synergies between ESIF and CSJU could maximise the specific value added of Smart Spesialisation Strategies (S3) investments, such as the capacity to support effectively aeronautics capacity building and the exploitation of research results in raising the overall socio-economic impact of the European Aeronautics sector.

Thus, the CSJU encourages synergies with ESIF by allowing complementary activities to be proposed by applicants to CSJU Calls and by broadening 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, in order to enhance the level of European competitiveness of stakeholders in this area.

[1] The CSJU Work Plan and the topics launched under the calls, 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

At Strategic Level, the CSJU has developed a coherent and comprehensive policy strategy and an action plan on synergies, for Member States and regions which are interested to invest ESIF within the aeronautics area and other related technologies in this domain. In this regard, the CSJU is developing closer interaction with interested Member States (MS) and Regions in Europe by discussing strategies and possible cooperation via a tailor-made approach as well incorporating modalities depending on the level of interest and commitment which a State/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.


How to engage in cooperation with the CSJU

To facilitate the synergies with ESIF, CSJU considers that the signature of a MoU is an important and effective instrument which provides a strategic approach and the oppurtunity to 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 which can identify thematic objectives or align the regional funding instruments to support possible pilot projects. However, 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.

So far, CSJU has signed thirteen (13) MoUs at a national or regional level:

  • Occitanie (FR)
  • Andalusia, Catalonia, Castilla La Mancha, Castilla Y Leon  (ES)
  • Campania (IT)
  • Romania (state level)
  • Czech Republic (state level)
  • Flevoland and South Holland (NL)
  • Ostergötland  and Vastra Götaland (SE)
  • Portugal (state level)

The CSJU has also developed a pilot phase with a 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 the complementarity of projects, rather than on co-funding of a single project
  • It also acknowledges that the synchronicity of the respective processes (calls, etc.) is a given – but not an obstacle


List of MoUs signed by Clean Sky with Regions


Calls for Proposals 

In order to enhance the synergies with ESIF, CSJU provides a “Guidance note” on how to include in the Calls for proposal, complementary activities which may be supported by European Structural and Investment Funds. National and regional authorities in charge of ESIF planning and the ESIF managing authorities are encouraged to consult this guidance available in this section, which provides a general overview on synergies. They are also encouraged to consult the “Guidance for policy makers and implementing bodies” provided by the European Commission.

Additionally, Core Partners and/or Partners to CSJU are encouraged to introduce complementary activities funded or eligible for support through ESIF that are in synergy/complementarity with the JU funded project/activities under implementation, topic area and/or contribute to the objectives of the Clean Sky 2 Programme. These activities shall be submitted under separate Work Package/s (Part C-ESIF WP) linking to the JU funded project/activities and the CSJU will decide whether to evaluate these activities in view of a possible synergy label depending on the level of existing cooperation with the Member State/Region concerned.


For more information

The CSJU is available to provide, additional information related to the synergies with ESIF and the implementation of a MoU. The interested authorities can directly email to:


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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