From Theory to Practice: Assessing the Implementation of Innovation Indicators in ERDF and Teaming Research Infrastructures - a comparative analysis of Czech Research Infrastructures
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Despite their significant economic growth since joining the euro area, the Central and Eastern European (CEE) Member States are still lagging behind on their Western European counterparts in socio-economic terms. This economic gap goes hand in hand with an innovation cleavage that has its roots in its communist past. The EU has several programs in place to bridge this gap: Cohesion Policy and the Research and Innovation Framework Programs (Horizon). This thesis zoomed into two specific funds within these programs to understand what innovative output the synergies between of Cohesion Policy and Horizon funds can have: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Teaming. These funds create and build upon Research Infrastructures, which are critical research and innovation projects needed to tackle 21st century challenges. This research conducted a case study analysis of Research Infrastructures located in the Czech Republic, and analyzed how these infrastructures implemented innovation indicators during the ERDF-phase and Teaming phase. The conclusion argues that the use of synergies between the two programs can enhance the impact of Research Infrastructures, and thereby contribute to closing the innovation gap between the CEE area and its counterparts. Although, a strengthening of the implementation of these synergies is needed to make use of its full potential.