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EU outermost regions cooperate to foster research and innovation

Article written by Giacomo Frisanco – Project and Communication officer at EURADA


The European Union has nine outermost regions (ORs), which are geographically very distant from the European continent. These are French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, Reunion Island and Saint-Martin (France), Azores and Madeira (Portugal), and the Canary Islands (Spain).

EURADA, in its wide network, also counts two members from the outermost regions 

  • NEXA –Agence de Développement, d'Investissement et d'Innovation of the Reunion Island; 
  • and ACIISI – Agencia Canaria de Investigación, Innovación y Sociedad de la Información of the Canary Islands.  

Despite the thousands of kilometres separating them from the European continent, these regions are an integral part of the EU. Therefore, EU law along with all the rights and duties associated with EU membership apply to the outermost regions. The outermost regions have unique potential and distinctive assets from which the EU can benefit as a whole. They provide a European presence in strategic areas of the world and have exceptional characteristics that make them excellent laboratories for research and innovation in biodiversity, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, renewable energies, pharmacology and space sciences. 

In order to bring research closer to policy makers and to recognize the singularities of the outermost regions, the European Commission, financed a project called Forward through the H2020 programme. The project involves 24 partners from the nine European outermost regions. The main goal of the project is to boost Research Excellence & Innovation Capacity in the abovementioned outermost regions. Forward funds training programs, mutual learning, networking activities and mobility. Moreover, the project aims to: 

  • map the outermost regions’ ecosystems in research and innovation to underline strengths, weaknesses and potentials for growth for each OR; 

  • identify actual and future fields of excellence and competitive advantages of the different regions and define emerging specialization areas for each OR and define ORs’ friendly topics in the future Framework Programmes;  

  • accompany the transformation and capacity building of each OR research and innovation ecosystem to better exploit these potentials, by improving their excellence and the mobilization of multiple kinds of stakeholders (research organization, companies, public authorities and civil society organizations) through a quadruple helix approach; 

  • increase the regional, national, European and worldwide visibility and recognition of outermost regions’ research capacities and activities in their fields of specialization; 

  • foster socio-economic development of the European ORs through the quadruple helix approach; 


EURADA belongs to the Advisory Member Boards of the project and strongly encourages you to contact Giacomo Frisanco if you would like to know more about the project and/or you are willing to know more about outermost regions and their R&I ecosystem.  


The video provides information on the project. With a budget of €4 million, “FORWARD” focuses on eight core working themes: health, social sciences, earth and space, ICT, climate change and energy transition, agriculture, biodiversity, and marine sciences. 

This video shows excellent examples of research infrastructure in each of the outermost regions. For example, did you know that in French Guiana, Bio-Stratège is an innovative consultancy firm that highlights bioactive molecules in plants from Amazonian biodiversity?