The R&D&I Policy Network, better known as the RDI Network, is a thematic network linked to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The RDI Network emerged at the end of 2010 as a multi-level strategic coordination instrument to support research, development and innovation in Spain.
To this end, the network’s main objective is to coordinate the different agents of the Spanish RDI system in order to optimize the design, implementation and development of the public support frameworks for RDI, thus favouring the mobilization of resources and access to financing from European funds and, in particular, from ERDF funds. Therefore, the RDI Network encourages and supports RIS3 (Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation).
This main overall objective is complemented by a number of specific objectives:
- Optimize public support frameworks for research and innovation, avoiding overlaps in program definition and resource use.
- Make improvements to information systems.
- Increase cooperation and dialogue among the administrations responsible for the R&D policies of the AGE (Public Administration) and the autonomous regions.
Based on these objectives, the RDI Network’s activities are organized through its work plans, which are usually annual. They fall within the framework of the RDI Network Strategic Plan 2017-2023, the latest version of which is dated May 2020.
At present, the network and its various activities are directly linked to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)’s thematic objective 1, “Strengthening research, technological development and innovation”. It is also co-financed through technical assistance axis 13 of the Regional Operational Programme of Spain (POPE) and by the CDTI, E.P.E, the Spanish innovation agency under the Ministry of Science and Innovation, which is currently responsible for the Technical Secretariat.
The most relevant actors in Spain's RDI policy ecosystem are part of the RDI Network structure. There are three levels of representation: at a European, national and regional level; and also three distinct bodies: the Presidency, the Plenary and the Technical Secretariat.
The RDI Network is chaired jointly by the Ministry of Science and Innovation (Directorate General for Research Planning) and the Ministry of Finance (Directorate General for European Funds). The first has national RDI policy competencies, while the second has competencies regarding European funds, including the ERDF.
The main functions of the presidency are to represent the network and define its course of action.
The RDI Network plenary is configured as the meeting point for all network members, including the Presidency and Technical Secretariat.
The main responsibility of the plenary is to ensure consensus on the network’s activity, as well as to guide and approve the work plans. Generally, it meets in person once a year.
The objective of the RDI Policy Network Technical Secretariat is to provide technical assistance to promote cooperation and collaboration among the different actors that make up the network. The functions of the Technical Secretariat are:
- Administrative and logistical coordination of the network’s activities, including the coordination of projects for work plan preparation and for the development of the activities included in them.
- The organization, monitoring and logistical coordination of the network’s plenary sessions and the work groups formed.
- The organization of communications among the network members as well as the development and maintenance of the website that is to serve as a basic platform for information, communication and content of interest for achieving the network’s objectives, including information on all actions, invitations and initiatives of interest.
The Technical Secretariat is currently run by the CDTI, E.P.E. as part of its Institutional Promotion and Territorial Cooperation Department.