North Rhine-Westphalia is doing well in comparison to other European countries, specifically in the areas of research and innovation. But compared to the other German federal states in Germany, NRW could improve and accomplish even more. Increasing economic investments in research and development is crucial in this regard.
The OP ERDF NRW aims to strengthen these investments and is guided in this by the lead markets which were in established in the course of the innovation strategy. These are markets in which NRW companies already hold strong positions and which show a high potential for growth. One prerequisite for success within these lead markets is the cooperation between research and companies, leading to developing innovative ideas and making them marketable.
The aim of priority axis 1 is connecting lead markets with areas in NRW which face major societal challenges. Among them are climate protection and climate change, efficient management of resources and a secure power supply, as well as new approaches in mobility, the challenges of a digitized economy or achieving social cohesion within a changing society.
NRW already has a high level of know-how and specialization in all core areas of its lead markets. The strategy of the OP ERDF NRW is set to make optimal use of the already existing innovation potential - through the cooperation between research institutions and enterprises. Special emphasis will be on involving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in projects.
The objective is to develop, produce and ultimately launch innovative products, services and procedures. Existing strengths of the state (research excellence, business experience) will be bundled and united to form market-innovative forces. Realizing this goal requires an excellent infrastructure for research and innovation, as well as the necessary knowledge transfer, making it possible to put the gained innovations into practice.
Sought after are sustainable solutions at all levels - solutions which our future society requires. Ecologically exemplary, economically successful and socially anchored - combining these maxims is an important objective of OP ERDF NRW in the context of promoting research and innovation.
465 million euros from ERDF are available for priority axis 1. This number will be doubled through funds provided by the state and by direct contributions of project participants.