In order to achieve the Lisbon objectives and create a knowledge based society, Europe needs to increase and improve investment in R&D. This requires improving the effectiveness and coherence of research policies at European, national and regional levels. The first cycle of application of the open method of co-ordination (OMC) to the 3% obj
...ective provided an overview of the Member States policies in a number of areas, facilitated mutual learning and led to a number of policy recommendations adopted by CREST in October 2004. The current regional benchmarking practice is made with in a 6th Framework Programme project called Cognac, which is the acronym for Coordination of R&D&I policies and their coherence with other policies in NewlyAcceded Countries. The project is focusing on two priority subjects: public research spending and policy mixes and SMEs and research. The project was supported within the first cycle of the RTD-OMC NET call. The benchmarking exercise tries to show the differences in the performance of participating regions. It supposed to choose the best regions at NUTS II level by the two priority topic of the project: “Public research spending and policy mixes” and “SMEs and research”. Geographically the analysis covers the area of the eight partnering regions.