The actions undertaken in this area will enable European regions to strengthen their capacity for investing in and carrying out research activities. While this can be beneficial for regions locally, it is also a way to maximise their potential for a successful involvement in European research projects. A stronger research capacity can also result in the creation of more jobs in the regions.
Research policy and activities at regional level often rely on the development of "clusters" uniting public and private actors. The Pilot Action on "Regions of Knowledge" demonstrated the dynamics of this evolution and the necessity to support and encourage the development of such regional structures.
Encouraging transnational networks of regions and research-driven clusters will help maximise the region's potential, creating a dynamic environment that can attract or retain the best researchers. These clusters will bring together universities, research centres, enterprises and regional authorities, councils or development agencies.
Industry as a whole and SMEs in particular are essential partners in successful EU research projects. Assisting regions in increasing their capacity for investing in research and development will help improve competitiveness and knowledge absorption capacities. Synergies will be sought with the Community's regional policy as well as with major national and regional programmes, in particular with regard to convergence and outermost regions. The Regions of Knowledge activity will encourage cross-border regional co-operation in research, irrespective of whether the regions concerned fall under the convergence or the regional competitiveness objective.
Regions are increasingly being recognised as important players in the EU's research and development landscape. Local resources are taking an active part in scientific endeavour and innovation in favour of society.