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Advisory report 22: Strategic exploration study on IPCEI Part II: Assesment framework to respond to future opportunities regarding IPCEI

15 October 2021

Early 2020, VARIO was requested by Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits “to perform a strategic exploration and analysis of the strengths and opportunities that exist for Flanders for the various possible Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEIs). […] We will have to make choices about which projects we want to prioritize. We need to focus our resources and to do so we need the necessary underpinning. VARIO can provide an important starting point for this. [...]"

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Earlier, at the end of 2019, the following six value chains had been identified by the Strategic Forum on IPCEI: Clean, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, Industrial IoT, Hydrogen Technologies and Systems, Smart Health, Low CO2 emissions industries and Cybersecurity. At the time of the request for advice, a call was already launched by the FOD (Federal Public Service) Economy for the submission of ‘expressions of interest’ for an IPCEI 'Hydrogen Technologies and Systems' with June 2020 as deadline. VARIO opted to map the hydrogen value chain first and to hand it over to the Minister in order to support her decisions within this value chain. VARIO handed over its advisory report 12 ‘Strategic Exploration IPCEI – Part I Hydrogen’ to the Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits in July 2020.

Subsequently, four external experts performed the strategic explorations and analyzes for the other value chains identified by the Strategic Forum on IPCEI; Clean, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, Industrial IoT, Smart Health and Cybersecurity. It then quickly became apparent that still other value chains are circulating as potential IPCEIs. In order to be well prepared to respond to such unexpected future opportunities with regard to IPCEI, VARIO formulates in this advice part II an assessment framework for IPCEI. (The strategic analysis of the various value chains will result in four independent expert reports which are currently in preparation.)

In the advisory report, VARIO indicates that it is important to first establish a clear overarching strategic framework, broader than IPCEI. It is equally very important to see how IPCEI fits within the existing set of instruments – is IPCEI the best choice to support an initiative? According to VARIO, an IPCEI participation must be analyzed on the basis of the following assessment framework:

Country/region perspective:

  • Does the IPCEI align with the Flemish strategy and transitions?
  • Does Flanders have sufficient financial capacity to join the IPCEI?
  • Does the IPCEI have sufficient impact for Flanders?

Company perspective:

  • Do we have companies with unique technological expertise and innovation?
  • Do we have enough critical mass?
  • Is there a market failure?
  • Are our companies (and their projects) sufficiently embedded in an (international) network?
  • Is there sufficient willingness to (co-)invest among Flemish companies?

You can read these and other recommendations in the context of IPCEI in the advisory report.