Advanced technologies are fuelling the 4th industrial Revolution, commonly known as INDUSTRY 4.0 or I4.0. It could save the top 100 EU manufacturers €160 bn in scrapping and reworking costs; reduce equipment downtime by 50%; increase production by 20%; a 10% production efficiency improvement can result in a €265bn gain for the industry. Such is the scale of research, innovation and investment required, however, that few European regions can conceive of developing the full range of I4.0 competences needed to successfully effect the digital transformation of their own manufacturing base. EU Innovation policy instruments need to adapt to allow I4.0 innovation centres in less developed regions to work jointly with multiple I4.0 Centres of Excellence in highly developed regions, specialising in Artificial Intelligence (AI), data analytics or Internet of Things (IoT).

The common challenges addressed by REGIONS 4.0, are how to best adapt innovation policies to support smart specialisation in the manufacturing sector as a result of the emergence of INDUSTRY 4.0. The overall objective is to, by 2022, achieve a 15% increase of the number of SMEs from manufacturing sector cooperating with other innovation actors in the participant regions to implement I4.0 solutions as a result of improved innovation policies. The benefits of smart specialisation are represented by an appropriate mix of partners from each region’s innovation value-chain including managing authorities, universities, INDUSTRY 4.0 Centres of Excellence and business development intermediaries.

The project seeks to improve 7 ERDF policies addressing the Thematic Objective “strengthening research, technological development and innovation” and 1 Swissequivalent policy. They will include measures to facilitate increased I4.0 policy cooperation between regions, increased participation by SMEs and availability of I4.0 competences.

Project will benefit all stakeholders in each region’s innovation ecosystem, i.e. innovation policy makers, SMEs that use I4.0 solutions, suppliers of I4.0 services and universities and innovation centres.

Project website:

Project is integral part of 4P DIH:

Project name: DIGITAL REGIONS 4.0 – Regional policies adopting Industry 4.0 for their Digital Transformation

Programme: Interreg Europe, European Regional Development Fund

Duration: 01.08.2019 – 31.01.2023

Project cost: 1.215.614,00

Project code: PGI06030


  • European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology
  • University of Ljubljana
  • Business Agency Association
  • Regional Development Agency of West Region Romania
  • Business and innovation Centre of Beira Interior
  • Hof University of Applied Sciences
  • Regional Government of Cantabria
  • Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne AG