Developing an Alpine Space Research, Development and Innovation Area by lowering barriers for cross-regional cooperation

There is currently no funding programme for research, development and innovation that is tailored specifically to the needs of the regions in the macroregion of the Alpine space, supporting the implementation of their specific objectives while at the same time facilitating cross-border cooperation. The EU project ARDIA-Net has now set itself the goal of creating such an R&I funding programme with a focus on the issues of the circular bioeconomy and health economy that brings together companies (SMEs), universities and their research partners in the Alpine space.

The latest results of the Interreg project S3-4AlpCluster, in which BayFOR was also involved as a project partner, showed that the Alpine space needs a transnational funding programme enabling interregional research and innovation projects. Innovative resources are still going unused because regional synergies are difficult to develop and critical masses hard to reach. In order to overcome the social challenges within the Alpine space, there is an urgent need for targeted networking of the region's excellent stakeholders through research and innovation projects. Ideally, this could be taken care of through an interregional and transnational R&I funding programme that is thematically tailored to the needs of the Alpine space. The regional governments of the Alpine space have defined these thematic priorities in their innovation strategies (Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3)). On this basis, the consortium decided to focus on the topics “Circular bioeconomy” and “Health economy”, since these two issues are of particular relevance to the Alpine space.

The ADRIA-Net project aims to subject this concept to a reality check for an S3-oriented, transnational R&I funding programme with the active involvement of various regional stakeholders. The implementation of such a support programme is to be elaborated on a theoretical and practical level over the project period of almost three years (33 months). Eight project partners from the Alpine space (Salzburg, Upper Austria, Switzerland, Lombardy, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria) have joined forces for this purpose. Based on their expertise, they already have the necessary experience in the field of research and innovation funding, and they are closely networked with local stakeholders in government, research and industry.

For this ambitious project, the project partners have to convince both funding bodies and recipients that a transnational, thematically coordinated F&I funding of projects will lead to sustainable development in the Alpine space. The concrete implementation of the project is divided into three work packages. First, the partners wish to identify existing country-specific funding programmes and analyse their legal basis. This will serve as a starting point for the planned synchronisation of existing funding programmes across regional borders. Existing transnational cooperation in the Alpine space in the field of the circular bioeconomy and health economy is also important here. They will provide a basis for workshops to elaborate the needs of regional stakeholders with regard to a uniform R&I funding programme. Ultimately, the aim is to draw up a blueprint for a transnational R&I funding programme, which will then serve as a basis for discussion with regional/national funding bodies and political decision-makers regarding an actual implementation in the third and final work package.

Project Overview

Project Aims and Fields of Work

The aim of the ARDIA-Net project is to develop a cross-border funding programme of research, development and innovation (FTI) for governments in the Alpine macro-region that sets out the legal conditions as well as containing blueprints for programme management. In this way, ARDIA-Net aims to close a gap in the European funding landscape and enable the challenges shared by the 48 regions of the Alpine space to be tackled. In terms of content, the ARDIA-Net framework programme will build on the regions’ own research, technology and innovation strategies (also Smart Specialisation Strategies, S3) so as to guarantee regional relevance of the specific funding lines.

The following models and initiatives will be developed in the project:

  • A blueprint for an RTI funding programme that enables the synchronisation of S3-based programmes in the Alpine space
  • Training courses on cross-sectoral and cross-regional S3 cooperation opportunities
  • Workshops to develop demonstrator calls and projects for implementation in the Alpine space
  • Strategy for a sustainable and expandable ARDIA-Net programme network
  • Strategy for an appropriate programme management structure

Target Groups

The results of the project are aimed at the following stakeholders:

  • Policy-makers in the field of research, technology and innovation funding in national and regional governments
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially in the fields of bioeconomics and health economics
  • Universities and universities of applied sciences
  • Public and private stakeholders in the management of government funding programmes
  • Public and private stakeholders in the field of economic development and regional development

BayFOR as partner

The Bavarian Research Alliance has provided intensive support for the project in the application phase, advising on strategic orientation. BayFOR is involved in ARDIA-Net as a project partner. It develops the content of the work packages and takes care of communicating the project results.

Funding Period

From October 2019 to June 2022, the EU is providing funding of EUR 1.17 million for this EU research project under Interreg Alpine Space (Priority 4: Well-Governed Alpine Space). Of this funding, EUR 127,500 will go to Bavarian stakeholders. 


Seven further project partners from the Alpine space (Salzburg, Upper Austria, Switzerland, Lombardy, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria) are participating in ARDIA-Net under the coordination of BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH.


BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH, Germany

Project partners

Anteja ECG d.o.o., Slovenia
Bavarian Research Alliance, Germany
Business Upper Austria – OÖ Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH, Austria
Haute école d’ingénierie et d’architecture de Fribourg, Switzerland
Innovations- und Technologietransfer Salzburg GmbH, Austria
Lombardy Green Chemistry Association, Italy
SC Sviluppo Chimica S.p.A., Italy

Dr. Philip Pfaller

Dr. Philip Pfaller
Scientific Officer Socio-economic Sciences & Humanities | Security
Phone: +49 89 9901888-0 or direct: -164


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