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Strategic Objective 1

A More Competitive Portugal

Support investment in research and innovation, digitalization, competitiveness and internationalization of companies, skills for smart specialization and industrial transition.

Overall Value: 2567 M€

Territorial Framework

COMPETE 2030 targets the less developed regions of the Mainland (NUT II do Norte, Centro and Alentejo).

Incentive structure and systems

To achieve its strategic objectives, COMPETE 2030 is structured around 3 priorities, within the scope of which specific objectives established in the regulatory framework of European funds are mobilized, being implemented through Support Systems and Inventive Systems for companies:

1.1 Research and Innovation

In specific objective 1.1 – Develop and strengthen research and innovation capacities and the adoption of advanced technologies (ERDF)

Scientific and Technological Research

To support internationally recognized scientific and technological production, stimulating an economy with high added value, as well as excellence, cooperation and internationalization, through training NSTS entities to develop research processes, with the aim of production and expansion of knowledge in the scientific and technological areas that support innovation processes with a market purpose and increased knowledge creation to respond to business and societal challenges.

Financial support: Non-refundable grants.

Beneficiaries: Entities of the National Scientific and Technological System.

Research and development

To promote investment in R&D, in the categories of industrial research and experimental development, stimulating their economic valuation and the promotion of innovation in priority areas of smart specialization, by strengthening the articulation between companies and scientific and technological institutions, as well as promote the internationalization of national capabilities in terms of research and innovation (R&I), through integration into international R&I networks.

It is also intended to support operations of «Integrated Investment in Research, Development and Business Innovation», which carry out activities from research to production and/or market introduction of products or processes, enhancing productive innovation, resulting from cooperation between companies (SMEs and/or large company) and/or Non-Business Entities of the R&I system (ENESII).

Financial support: Non-refundable grants


  • SMEs and Small Mid Caps;
  • ENESII (including those located in the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira) and other non-profit public and private institutions that develop or participate in scientific research activities, in the case of co-promotion operations;
  • Large Companies, in the case of «Integrated Investment in Research, Development and Business Innovation» operations, provided that in co-promotion with SMEs.

1.2 Digitalization

In the specific objective 1.2 – Take advantage of digitalization for companies, (ERDF) and, transversally, in the specific objectives 1.1, 1.3 and 2.1

Collective Actions

To support the environment for business activity, through collective, mobilizing or clustering actions, which allow for the creation of favorable conditions for the development of collective strategies that stimulate business investment, namely in terms of knowledge dissemination and technology transfer, identification digitalization and innovation opportunities and training companies to develop more sophisticated business and internationalization strategies.

Financial support: Non-refundable grants.

Beneficiaries: Business and non-business associations of the R&I System, Public Agencies and Entities, and non-profit Private Entities.

1.3 Productive Investment

In specific objective 1.3 – Reinforce the sustainable growth and competitiveness of SMEs, as well as job creation in SMEs, including through productive investments (ERDF)

Business Competitiveness

Promoting the improvement of companies’ productive capacities, through the increase of business investment in the development of innovative, digital and sustainable solutions, mainly based on R&D results and the increase of qualified employment (Productive Innovation);

Promote the export orientation of SMEs, by investing in the qualification and internationalization of business models and the productive offer, supporting the adoption of more advanced business strategies, which favor the use of immaterial factors of competitiveness and which increase the integration capacity in global value chains (Qualification and Internationalization of SMEs).

Financial support: Non-refundable grants and Financial Instruments (in the case of support for Productive Innovation).

Beneficiaries: SMEs.

Last update to 14 de June 2023