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Presentation of the Operational Program for Smart Growth, Digitization and Financial Instruments (POCIDIF) 2021 – 2027

We continue our series of presentations on the new financial framework with the Operational Program for Smart Growth, Digitization and Financial Instruments (POCIDIF), for the programming period 2021 – 2027.

This Operational Program proposes measures in the areas of research, development and smart innovation / specialization and in the field of digitization, funded either by grants or by financial instruments in compliance with state aid rules, as appropriate, to meet the challenges identified at national level.

The POCIDIF Operational Program 2021-2027 period has an estimated total budget of 2,143 billion EUR, addressing a wide range of beneficiaries (such as: educational institutions, research and development institutes, SMEs and large enterprises, central public administration etc.), to ensure the funding of the interventions pursued by the 10 investment priorities that this Operational Program addresses.

In the following, we present, briefly, each investment priority in order to outline a general overview of the Operational Program:

P1. Integration of the RDI national ecosystem into the European and international Research Area

Purpose of intervention:

  • Creating synergies with Horizon Europe and other European programs and initiatives;
  • Development of support mechanisms to facilitate the participation of RDI actors in RO in European projects that support the partnerships development;
  • Preparation of mature and quality projects supported by support centers / other mechanisms;
  • Budget allocated in 2021-2027 period: 57 mil. EUR;

P2. Creating and promoting an attractive system of innovation in the economy for all types of innovation

Purpose of intervention:

  • Supporting solutions proposed by RDI Consortia on complex topics defined by industry (SMEs and large enterprises) or of national interest;
  • Support for RDI activities (all phases from idea to market), on national smart specialization fields;
  • Support for project preparation, as well as the preparation of potential beneficiaries through technical assistance.
  • Budget allocated in 2021-2027 period: 43 mil. EUR;

P3. Development of RDI capacity of research organizations – universities

Purpose of intervention:

  • Development / Modernization of laboratories, including equipment;
  • Acquisition of research equipment and tools;
  • Identification of solutions to business environment challenges, by INCDs / ICARs using existing RDI infrastructures and support for:
  • Preparation of technical documentation and experimental models of products transferred to enterprises for scaling up in partnership (TRL3 to TRL5; TRL5 to TRL7)
  • Transfer of knowledge and technology to the headquarters of the research organization
  • Counseling
  • Quality systems testing and implementation services
  • Development of RDI infrastructures prioritized through the updated RDI infrastructures Roadmap:
  • Creation / modernization of RDI infrastructure, including endowment with equipment
  • Providing specialized human resources
  • Carrying out RDI and related activities
  • Developing partnerships, collaborations, common development agreements
  • Establishment of spin-offs
  • Budget allocated in 2021-2027 period:157 mil. EUR;

P4. Development of the RDI capacity of INCDs / ICARs

Purpose of intervention:

  • Increasing the R&I capacity and knowledge transfer capacity of INCDs / ICARs by creating or modernizing research centers / laboratories / facilities that can serve the innovation requirements of enterprises in economic sectors with growth potential at national or EU level or communities where these research investments are developed.
  • Budget allocated in 2021-2027 period: 179 mil. EUR;

P 5. Developing the RDI capacity of large enterprises

Purpose of intervention:

  • Facilitate cooperation between large enterprises and SMEs that aims to:
  • Identify solutions to meet the challenges that the business environment faces, in order to:
  • Preparation of technical documentation and experimental models of products transferred to enterprises for scaling up
  • The operation of scaling from laboratory to pilot station level
  • The operation of scaling from pilot level to industrial level, production “0”
  • Counseling
  • Testing services for the development of new or improved products / technologies / methods; and implementation of quality systems
  • Project preparation and preparation of the potential beneficiaries, financed through technical assistance;
  • Budget allocated in 2021-2027 period: 214 mil. EUR;

P 6. Development of large RDI infrastructures, including technology transfer

Purpose of intervention:

  • Creating synergies and concentrating the efforts of the academic environment, the economic environment and public authorities, in order to achieve favorable premises for the generation of knowledge and development in areas such as: artificial intelligence, advanced technologies and emerging technologies.
  • The types of investments supported under this priority will be – Strategic projects in the field of essential generic technologies, but also in the field of hydrogen – areas of intelligent specialization at the national level. As a result of the implementation of such projects, equipped with adequate research infrastructure and appropriate staff, it will be possible to carry out research and development, providing technical / technological advice, technology transfer, micro-production activities, providing services, as well as educational programs.
  • As an example, among the strategic projects are: National Platform of Advanced Technologies, Beneficiary – Research Center for Surface Science and Nanotechnology, Romanian HUB of Artificial Intelligence, Beneficiary – Romanian HUB of Artificial Intelligence, Romanian HUB of Hydrogen and New Energy Technologies – National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenic and Isotopic Technologies or the International Center for Advanced Studies for River-Sea Systems (Danubius-RI).
  • Budget allocated in 2021-2027 period: 400 mil. EUR;

P7. Digitization in education

Purpose of intervention:

  • Increasing the level of interoperability of public administration information systems that supports the creation of a standardized, interconnected and digital system, encouraging the re-use of information and services that already exist and are available through various sources.
  • Investments in digital infrastructure equipment to increase interoperability in education, to increase the quality and relevance of learning environments;
  • Development of a unitary educational infrastructure, at national level;
  • Interconnection of existing and / or developing educational databases.
  • As an example, among the strategic projects are: Centralized Informatics Platform in Education – PICE, STEAM-TE: Science, technology and experiment in pre-university education – endowment of IoT laboratories in schools and high schools, connected in a national educational guide, E-LEARNING, WIRELESS CAMPUS 2.
  • Budget allocated in 2021-2027 period: 200 mil. EUR;

P 8. Digitization in culture

Purpose of intervention:

  • Creating a complete and up-to-date database on the state of monuments in Romania, by using ICT instruments (3D scanning, history, legal regime).
  • Digitization for culture (equipment and infrastructure, databases, software, digital platforms, integrated systems, ICT, 3D digital models, IT infrastructures and cloud solutions, digitized exploitation).
  • Support for the realization of projects, technical assistance (under analysis).
  • As an example, among the strategic projects are: E-Heritage, E-Film and E-Audience projects.
  • Budget allocated in 2021-2027 period: 21 mil. EUR;

P 9. Digitization in the central public administration

Purpose of intervention:

  • Funding the Critical Infrastructures necessary to ensure essential public services (taxation, pensions, government cloud);
  • Projects for the digitization of public services not included in the life events identified in SNADR 2020;
  • Development of information systems necessary for electronic public services associated with the administrative procedures established by Regulation (EU) 2018/1724 and which are not included in the life events of SNADR;
  • Cyber ​​security, interoperability at the level of digital public services related to life events;
  • Supporting the government decision-making process through complex systems and solutions (g: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, cloud-based solutions, Supercomputer, Blockchain, Quantum Computing, etc.).
  • Development of IT platforms powered by data generated by the public administration – Open Data – (cf. Directive 2019/1024, PSI) in order to make them available to the public and reuse them (e.g: in the economy)
  • Budget allocated in 2021-2027 period: 571 mil. EUR;

P 10. Stimulating access to finance for SMEs through the use of Financial Instruments

Purpose of intervention:

  • This investment priority aims to promote the wider use of financial instruments, as well to introduce dedicated financial instruments that combine a financial instrument with grants to support digitization in SMEs (e.g the combination of loan and grant).
  • Budget allocated in 2021-2027 period: Investment priority 10 has an allocated budget of 300 mil. EUR in the 2021-2027 programming period.

 The information presented in this article is based on the Operational Program for Smart Growth, Digitization and Financial Instruments (POCIDIF) 2021 – 2027, the latest version available on the website of the Ministry of European Investments and Projects’s website, please access here.

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