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Ponta Delgada ,  March 26, 2018

Regional Government launches Transfer+ Initiative to stimulate interconnection between research centres and companies

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology announced today the Transfer + Initiative, a new programme developed by the Regional Government with an overall budget of 8.3 million Euros. It falls within axis 1 of the Azores 2020 Operational Programme, which defends "a greater interconnection between scientific production and innovation of research centres with companies and the economy."
Gui Menezes stressed that this programme, implemented by the Regional Directorate for Science and Technology, "comprises initiatives of companies in terms of research and innovation." In this context, he pointed out examples such as the support for patents or research and development (R&D) vouchers insofar as they represent "needs of companies using research centres to solve a specific problem or to improve a particular product."
The Regional Secretary spoke on the sidelines of the first meeting of the Regional Innovation Council. He mentioned that, under Transfer +, companies are also expected to use the services provided by "researchers holding postdoctoral and doctoral degrees with specialisation in certain areas, allowing them to include innovation in their practices."
At the opening session of this meeting, Gui Menezes stressed that innovation involves the ability to "put on the market what is tested in laboratories," adding that this is "the path we will continue to draw so that the Azores may be 'at the forefront' in the field of science, technology and innovation."
The Regional Innovation Council is an advisory body to the Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation of the Azores (RIS3), alongside the Executive Committee and the Thematic Working Groups.
This body brings together advisers from the three economic and scientific areas of RIS3, defined for the period 2014-2020, namely Fisheries and Sea, Tourism, and Agriculture, Livestock and Agroindustry. They are areas where the Azores can play "a differentiating role and where the strategy for innovation and growth was stronger."
The Secretary for Science and Technology considered that the Regional Innovation Council is "fundamental" to support the Regional Government in the Smart Specialisation Strategy. According to him, this strategy "is an 'ex ante' condition for the inclusive implementation of operational programmes and investments with Community funds."
"This body comprises the University of the Azores as well as chambers of commerce, research centres and other associations in line with the domains of our RIS3 strategy," said the government official. In this regard, he added that it was assigned the responsibility of evaluating the implementation of RIS3, issuing opinions and providing advice on how the Regional Government is implementing this strategy.
"The Regional Innovation Council may also issue opinions on possible changes and new lines of action under the RIS3 strategy. They are then directly sent to the Executive Committee, which will be responsible for their implementation," said the government official.
According to Gui Menezes, the first meeting of this body will "present the results of RIS3 so far and plan the Council's actions for the future."
The application of RIS3 methodologies has already allowed the approval of 28 R&D projects, with a global investment over four million Euros, under axis 1 of the Azores 2020 Operational Programme. It includes research and development projects in the context of the Scientific and Technological System of the Azores (22 projects) and in business context (6 projects).
At the meeting, the Regional Secretary stressed that the Government of the Azores launched in July 2016 a financing line under the Azores 2020 Programme for R&D projects in business context with an overall amount of two million Euros.
"As of today, we already have six projects approved that correspond to an overall investment over 1.2 million Euros, of which 945 thousand Euros are funded from ERDF," said the government official. In this regard, he noted that these projects are "developed by companies and within companies with the strong commitment of research teams and may contribute to the creation of jobs and new products."
"From the promotion of timber to the differentiation of milk, we are seeing the emergence of a new entrepreneurial dynamics focused on research that allow us to promote innovation in the Azores," said Gui Menezes.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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