Tuscany is a great pole of attraction for European funds destined to innovation investments. The intense regional activity in setting up operational plans in order to support innovation, the presence of public and private research agencies of excellence, and the partnerships between actors of diverse nature operating in the same sector, created the conditions to take advantage of resources made available by the European Union (EU) in a much more substantial way compared to other Italian regions.

According to data from OpenCoesione, an agency under the department of development policies at the Ministry of the Economy, during the 2007-2013, Tuscany was the target of 828 projects, worth a total amount of 410 million euro of public resources.

If we only look at regional operational plans, which represent a large part of EU Tuscan projects, the per capita amount put forward was 110 euros, practically double the Italian average (which does not reach 60 euros per resident) and four times more than the average for central Italy.

About one tenth of interventions was made up of large initiatives of over one million euros. Where were these resources destined? For the most part they were use to finance research and development and services linked to innovation, while over half of the funds were focused on advanced services.

However, as the recent Bank of Italy report on Tuscan economy points out, if the diffusion of innovative businesses is higher than the rest of Central Italy, Tuscany is a step behind the national average most of all because of a dimensional deficit of local companies – a factor impacting the capacity to innovate. This activity is mostly conducted “in-house” by companies (in 90 percent of cases) and only 10 percent was able to define cooperation agreements with external subjects.

Statistics on patents, brands and design show a snapshot of the regional innovation activity in the last few years and represent the output of the capacity of attracting resources and of investing by an entire territory. The total number of patents deposited between 2000 and 2008 at the European Patent Office, 690 per one million resident, is in line with the national average.

When considering only patents from businesses, Tuscany shows its specialization in electrical, and electronic devices, machinery and precision instruments: 26 percent of patents belong to this sector, even though the machinery and mechanical devices field is the most represented (34 percent).

The vocation to traditional manufacturing industry is also reflected among brands deposited at the UAMI (Office for Harmonization of Domestic Market): 12,000 were presented in the 1999-2011 period, half of which come from traditional sectors, and one quarter from the high-tech one.

Finally the design registrations coming from manufacturing and construction businesses are beyond the national average – a fact that further confirms the Tuscan attention to the high-end of the market and the defense of products’ uniqueness.

Source: www.opencoesione.gov.it; Rapporto Economie Regionali – Toscana di Banca d’Italia, giugno 2013