The initiative opened up in the context of the the New European Innovation Agenda, which aims to put the European Union in a position of technological leadership. The commission opened three calls, with 17 October as the deadline for each. Amongst their primary objectives, the calls mention the building infrastructure to increase cohesion in regional development – meaning interregional activities, and a focus on allowing less developed regions to participate in EU value chains to bridge the “innovation divide”. However, they also specify the relation of the valleys to to other commission goals, such as the Net Zero objectives. Application details were explained during an info session, held on 25 May.
The Commission allocates 122 Million EUR for this purpose from its Horizon Europe funds. Shortly after the announcement of the innovation valley calls, and their funding, the Commission also communicated the proposed Horizon budget for 2024. According to the commission’s plans, out of the total €13.6 billion research and innovation next year, €12.8 billion is directed towards Horizon Europe. Albeit the €400M increase compared to 2023, the parliament voiced its discontent, as, according to MEPs, this doesn’t counters inflation enough.