Each year the ‘Week of Innovative Regions in Europe’ is organized by the European Commission, in collaboration with Member States in Presidency and brings together national, regional and European stakeholders such as policymakers, enterprises, public institutions, research communities, organizations etc. The WIRE Conference is an opportunity to hear the latest on Research and Innovation Strategies, EIT Synergies between Horizon 2020 and Structural Funds.
The first Conference was organized in Granada as part of the 2010 Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Since then, the Conference Series has been established as one of the most significant European Forums which cultivate dialogue on innovation, regional policy and growth. WIRE2010 succeeded in setting the priorities towards greater synergies of research and innovation. The Conference highlighted the need to to create favorable conditions for interoperable regional policies and a need to empower the role of the regions in the context of the EU2020 Strategy.
In 2011, WIRE took place under the auspices of the Hungarian Presidency, in the city of Debrecen. With an aim to give an appropriate follow up toWIRE2010, the conference focused on the economic development of regions and stressed the role of new partnerships between research infrastructures and clusters, at a national and regional level.
As part of the Polish EU Presidency, WIRE 2012 took place in Krakow. Its agenda focused on smart regional development based on knowledge and innovation, and addressed issues related to the effective implementation of the Innovation Union at the regional level for the period 2014-2020. While focusing on the regional dimension of the Innovation Union Flagship, the conference covered three thematic areas concerning smart regions in Horizon 2020, stairway to Excellence, Networking for ERA at a regional level.
WIRE2013 continues to address the challenge of smart specialization for European Regions. The Conference took place in Cork (Ireland) and focused on regional aspects relevant to the final stages of the design and legislative process for the European Union's subsequent funding programme, Horizon 2020. The event was a platform for discussion on three broad topics: ‘Regions and Competitive Advantage’; ‘Regional Policy in an International Context’ and ‘Putting Strategies to Work’. It succeeded to add to the discussion on the complementarities and synergies between innovation and regional policies by examining the place-based mobilisation of talent and matching Research & Innovation capabilities with business needs and capacities. It also opened the dialogue about cities' and regions' solutions to societal challenges of global significance identified in Horizon 2020.
This year’s WIRE, will go a step further to address the challenges for the less developed regions in the programming period 2014-2020. Hosted by the Greek EU presidency, WIRE 2014 will build on the knowledge acquired by the preceding Conferences to offer a forum for discussion on the new perspective for regional development reflected on the EU 2014-2020 Cohesion policy. It will present the EU Structural funds for regional development in the current programming period, will address the issues of Innovative enterprises, growth and job creation, and will highlight the importance of open data and knowledge re use for optimal regional strategies, innovation and growth.