Interreg VI news


Strategic Initiatives


of the key sectors

Strategic Initiatives 

Five sectors in the programme area have been identified as particularly important for achieving the objectives related to innovation:

  • Agribusiness/Food
  • Health & Life Sciences
  • High Tech Systems & Materials (HTSM)
  • Logistics
  • Energy/CO2 reduction

A strategic initiative document has been drawn up for each of these sectors. These documents identify the most important challenges, trends, and cross-border opportunities in the relevant sector. It provides a framework for all projects carried out within that sector. For example, the document forecasts the most promising trends and developments of the years ahead and lists the criteria that eligible projects should satisfy. The strategic initiative documents are drawn up by experts from the business sector, the research community, and government. You can find them in the download section (only available in German and Dutch).

A strategic initiative is not a project but a framework for various large and small projects within the programme. If you would like to undertake a project in one or more of relevant sectors – Agribusiness/Food, Health & Life Sciences, High Tech Systems & Materials (HTSM), Logistics and/or Energy/CO2 reduction – then your project will need to fit into the strategic initiatives. Please pay close attention to the content of the strategic initiative document as you are developing your project, because it also serves as a key assessment framework in the decision-making process later on.

Why strategic initiatives?  

The main focus of the strategic initiatives are the shared objectives of participating partners:

  • generating ideas jointly;
  • improving project quality and efficiency;
  • exploiting the potential of the entire programme area;
  • linking relevant parties throughout the programme area;
  • involving new partners and sector-specific experts.

The strategic initiatives provide an impetus for projects within the five priority sectors. Because all the projects carried out in these sectors are based on the principles of the strategic initiatives, designated use of funding is guaranteed and project quality will improve. This is important for ensuring that the innovation programme objectives are achieved.

Strategic initiative projects are not tied to a specific region or Euroregion. Projects can be carried out at regional level, but they can also cover the entire programme area. The most important criteria for assessment are the project content and quality.

The strategic initiatives make synergies possible. By building strong sector-specific networks, we can accelerate developments and encourage new ideas and partnerships. We can also avoid doing things twice in the programme area.

Is a strategic initiative different from a normal project?

A strategic initiative is not a project. Strategic initiatives cover projects that are no different from “normal” projects. The strategic initiative, however, provides thematic guidance for projects in certain sectors, ensuring focused and coherent investment across the programme area.

Can I carry out an innovation project that is not covered by the strategic initiatives?

Some funding is available for innovation projects that are not covered by the strategic initiatives. Examples include other key regional sectors or general measures meant to boost the SME sector.

If the project falls within one or more of the relevant sectors – Agribusiness/Food, Health & Life Sciences, High Tech Systems & Materials (HTSM), Logistics and/or Energy/CO2 reduction – then it can only be carried out within the framework of a strategic initiative and must therefore satisfy that initiative’s content and quality criteria.

How is project quality assessed?

Each strategic initiative document sets out relevant quality criteria. The so-called ‘Innovatie-Overleg’, a programme-wide advisory committee, assesses projects on these and other criteria. It also discusses chances for links between projects, the proposed partner constellation and the chances for cofinancing for the project. It formluates comments for the project partners and a recommendations for the respective Steering Committee which in the end decides on the funding of the project.

Submitting a project application

Would you like to carry out a project in one of the relevant sectors – Agribusiness/Food, Health & Life Sciences, High Tech Systems & Materials (HTSM), Logistics and/or Energy/CO2 reduction? Please write down your ideas using the “Project idea” form, which can be found in German or Dutch in the downloads section, and discuss your concept with the staff of the nearest regional programme management. Contact details can be found here.

After you submit a full project concept, the programme partners and experts in the Innovatie-Overleg, a programme-wide advisory committee for innovation projects, will discuss and assess it. If the Innovatie-Overleg makes a positive recommendation, your project will be submitted to the regional Steering Committee for a decision on funding. Before this, you might need to revise your project application according to the comments of the Innovatie-Overleg.

Project funding 

Projects carried out within the framework of the INTERREG programme Deutschland-Nederland usually receive funding drawn from the following sources:

  • funding provided by the project partners: the partners have to pay for part of the project themselves;
  • EU funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF): this can be used to cover a maximum of 50% of the project costs;
  • national co-funding: ministries and provinces also make funding available for INTERREG projects. This money can be used to cover a portion of the project costs.

During the project term 

Your project and others covered by the strategic initiatives will be subject to monitoring and the relevant sector-specific experts will meet occasionally to assess whether the strategic initiatives are going according to plan and whether the objectives are being achieved. There will also be a series of meetings at which you will meet other project parties within the sector; arrangements will also be made within the programme for joint communication (brochures, websites, etc.).