Despite initial difficulties, the majority of participants in the Inno-Regio programme (Promotion of Regional Networks for Innovation), which is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, are pleased. The project promotes 23 innovation networks in the former East Germany. The program aims to improve the previously insufficient level of co-operation between businesses, research institutes and economic institutions on a regional level and thus promote innovation.
The project is currently in its third stage in which promotional funds are granted and projects are put into practice. In its current weekly report 21/2001, the DIW Berlin points out that entering this stage of the project has been difficult for many participants. The complexity and the length of the award process have in particular been criticised. These initial difficulties have not yet been overcome. Almost 260 projects had begun by March 2002 for whose promotion 68 billion EURO have been promised. This sum corresponds to almost a third of Inno-Regio's total financial resources of 231 billion EURO. The current stage of the project should finish in 2006. It will not be until then that the success of these incentives, aimed at promoting innovation and economic success for participants and the regions involved, can be closely evaluated.
In its weekly report 16/2002, the DIW Berlin pointed out that the Inno-Regio program also included the promotion of training and educating new and existing employees. This could offer the network's participating company's the opportunity to tackle the much bemoaned shortage of skilled workers. At present, only one third of businesses undertake such measures.