Cascade funding mechanism
Among the main activities under PNRR projects are so-called cascade calls, which are funding provided by PNRR project owners already funded by the European Commission under a project, who become administrators of received contributions and distribute them to other entities through the issuance of open calls, leveraging PNRR funds.
These are new funding opportunities that beneficiaries of the PNRR calls – particularly in the field of research and innovation – are launching to fund projects in different areas (from agriculture to health).
The goal is to start a leverage effect that is able to expand the reach of public funding, generating new opportunities for concessional finance and multiplying investment. The cascade funding mechanism is also widely used by the EU Commission in the 2021-2027 European funds programming, in fact it has a dedicated section on the Funding and tenders opportunities portal. Italy is no different, as evidenced by the PNRR calls for proposals that explicitly provide for the activation of cascade funding by beneficiaries.
The calls have in common the same type of governance for project implementation, which involves a Hub and Spoke logic. Basically, the projects are coordinated by a Hub – an implementing entity, usually a MUR-recognized organization – that leads a network of actors in the area (research institutions, private entities, etc.), better known as Spoke.
The Spokes – of public nature – are responsible for activating cascade calls, i.e., competitive procedures for: