East Netherlands


East Netherlands seizes opportunities of new European innovation program: Four I3 projects to start in 2023

Innovation projects related to hydrogen, healthcare, 3D printing and sustainable textiles receive European funding.

The European Commission has approved four proposals for innovation projects in which SMEs from the East Netherlands are also participating. The projects are co-financed from the I3 program, a new instrument of the European Union. I3 supports the development of new interregional value chains that contribute to energy transition, circular economy and digitalization. In total, the European Union is investing over 35 million euros in the four European projects.

In addition to companies from the East Netherlands, the four projects involve numerous European companies and organizations. In addition to funding from the EU, companies are funding 30% of the projects themselves.

Hy2market is one of the projects and aims to strengthen the existing hydrogen cooperation between the eastern and northern Netherlands. The project focuses on green hydrogen production and hydrogen infrastructure. From the East Netherlands, Firan (subsidiary of Alliander), HyET Hydrogen and Demcon are participating in the project.

I3 also supports RegioGreenTex, an initiative that identifies and reduces the current pitfalls of a circular economy model within the textile industry across the EU. Wageningen University & Research, Oost NL, Saxcell and Regionaal Textielsorteercenturm Twente are the partners from the East Netherlands involved in the project.

HealthChain is a demand-driven program focused on digital solutions for the healthcare sector. Oost NL and Rijnstate Hospital are participating in HealthChain. Philips Medical Systems will implement a voucher scheme for SMEs in, among others, the East Netherlands. Last week the kickoff of the program took place in Murcia, Spain.

Finally, 3DP is a project that will focus on optimizing production processes for 3D printing technology. Two East Dutch companies are participating in 3DP: Opiliones and OceanZ.

It is excellent that these four projects in the East Netherlands have been granted. The question is no longer whether companies should start working with circularity, digitalization and energy transition, but how they can do so. And that is what we will be working on with these projects. I am excited to see the results,” says Helga Witjes, regional minister of Economy for the province of Gelderland.

On this dashboard, the various partners of the I3 projects can be viewed: I3-Dashboard East Netherlands.

I3: Interregional Innovation Investments

Oost NL and the provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland are working with other Dutch provinces and European regions in the Vanguard Initiative to develop European industrial value chains. “The establishment of the I3 fund and the allocation for these initiatives is good news for companies engaged in technological renewal and innovation in healthcare, energy, industry and circular economy. Together we can therewith ensure that innovations make their way to the market faster. Meanwhile, we are busy developing project proposals for the upcoming I3 round for proposals,” said Wendy de Jong, managing director of Oost NL.


Projects around smart manufacturing and the green and digital transition are eligible for the I3. The I3 instrument supports interregional collaboration between companies, researchers, non-profit organizations and (regional) governments. Partners identify their common priorities and which projects they will develop further. Funding from I3 is available for projects whose product development is already advanced, i.e. Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6-9. I3 is based on the so-called Smart Specialization Strategies (S3) of the various regions. For East Netherlands, the Think East Netherlands themes of Smart Energy; Clean & Circular; Digital Economy & Industry, Food and Medtech & Prevention are leading for this purpose.


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