New financing opportunities in the EU

Innovation Norway’s assignments have been significantly increased in the 2021-2027 EU programme period. We now play a national role in five EU programmes that Norway has joined: Horizon Europe, COSME, DIGITAL, InvestEU and the European Defence Fund (EDF).

A number of new initiatives and programmes from the EU began in 2021, and this means even more opportunities for Innovation Norway to help Norwegian companies get support from the EU. Our job is to inform and guide the companies so that they have easier access to EU funding, expertise and networks.

Strengthening Norwegian competitiveness

Horizon Europe started on 1 January 2021 and is the world’s largest research and innovation programme. The programme gives the Norwegian business sector good opportunities to create and scale innovative solutions that contribute to solving major societal challenges. Participation is a key part of Norway’s transition to a greener and more competitive business sector.

COSME (Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) is another EU programme that started during the same year. Innovation Norway has been tasked with following up the programme in Norway. The programme has a budget of approximately NOK 10 billion and targets small and medium-sized enterprises, clusters and entrepreneurs. The aim is to strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability of European companies, while ensuring equal conditions and an open and competitive internal market.

COSME also provides funding opportunities aimed at clusters and other forms of collaboration. Innovation Norway has worked purposefully to mobilise for the New Joint Cluster Initiatives (EUROCLUSTERS) that will connect industrial ecosystems across Europe, in part to increase the resilience and competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises after the corona pandemic.

In 2021, Innovation Norway was given responsibility for Norwegian participation in the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), which is a European network providing corporate advisory services. We will launch a number of new services for Norwegian companies through this network in the future.

Getting Norway into new European value chains

Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) is an instrument that facilitates increased project support and participation in the development of new European value chains in key areas relating to green and digital restructuring. It is important that Norwegian actors are given the same opportunities as competitors in the other European countries in areas where Norway has strong communities. In 2021, Innovation Norway was assigned the role of coordinator for IPCEI initiatives.

As coordinator, Innovation Norway has a first-line responsibility for harnessing new IPCEI initiatives and assessing the potential for Norwegian participation, in collaboration with other instrument actors. Innovation Norway has built a significant network in Brussels and among other European innovation agencies to secure initiatives at an early stage. In 2021, Innovation Norway made an assessment of Norwegian participation in IPCEI regarding hydrogen, microelectronics, cloud services and solar power/solar panels.

DIGITAL restructuring

DIGITAL is an EU programme for a digital Europe that will contribute to digital restructuring and the use of innovative digital technologies in society and the business sector. Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency and the Research Council of Norway are responsible for Norwegian participation in the programme, and Innovation Norway has a special responsibility for participation from the business sector.

We have carried out a prequalification in Norwegian communities regarding participation in the announcement for the establishment of European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) in Norway. In 2021, two of the consortia proceeded further in the EU application process for such an establishment. The European network of EDIHs will play a key role in promoting digital restructuring in small and medium-sized enterprises and the public sector. This can contribute to increased competitiveness for the business sector and better services for the general public.

Innovation Norway has also contributed in mobilising Norwegian trade and industry for the announcements regarding Test and Experimentation Facilities (TEFs), which are particularly relevant for clusters and catapult centres. We are working closely with SIVA on this mobilisation.

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