Boosting smart specialisation through R&I synergies
The session discussed questions associated with strengthening the effectiveness of Smart Specialisation (S3) by the means of increased interregional cooperation and harnessing R&I synergies: How can regions design a customised policy mix for implementation at regional level? What is the added value of R&I synergies for S3? And which concrete measures could be transferred to other regions?
The panel of speakers comprised representatives from the fields of politics, science, regional administrations and research management. The discussion was very timely in light of the ongoing strategic planning process on EU level and in the regions.
Over 110 attendees joined the virtual session, which was moderated by Matthias Woiwode von Gilardi (Head of Unit at DLR Project Management Agency) and structured into a first section on policy and scientific aspects and a second part on practical examples.
The first speaker,Mikel Irujo Amezaga, Government of Navarra and Member of CoR, presented EU strategies and policies that deal with S3 and synergies. Mikel gave his perspective on the whether the S3 concept has proven its worth, as well as how S3 is being debated at the political levels in Europe.
This contribution was followed by Katerina Ciampi Stančová from the S3 Platform/JRC, who discussed why local authorities should engage in interregional collaboration and how such collaboration can contribute to post-COVID reconstruction.
Päivi Ekdahl from the Regional Council of Lapland presented experiences from the Finnish region of Lapland. Päivi discussed success factors for creating synergies in line with the region’s S3 goals and highlighted that recently common macro-regional S3 activities in Northern Finland were a key development in making S3 efforts more effective.
Markus Dettenhofer from the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) in Brno/Czechia discussed, by the example of CEITEC, how to effectively embed S3 in a particular regional socio-economic context. Furthermore, Markus outlined steps on how to align national strategies with regional S3 implementation.
Following the presentations, the experts continued their discussion in more depth, from which the following key lessons emerged:
- On the journey towards strategically using R&I synergies to attain S3 goals it is crucial to define a common objective and then to identify the instruments that could be aligned. This entails promoting cross-sectoral approaches.
- Lack of interregional cooperation is one of the main issues identified as a weakness broadly visible in many S3 strategies across Europe. Adding a European component to national initiatives and launching a continuous mutual learning process were identified as possible measures.
- Improving the ways how we do things, that are perhaps more important than how much money we put in – such as open, transparent, well-managed continuous dialogue processes. S3 helps create a "culture of cooperation".
Please find a questionnaire on the session here:
Take away message
Smart Specialisation can serve as the key strategic framework for pursuing regional transformation goals in the context of the Green Deal and post-COVID recovery. To this end, synergies between R&I instruments as part of a coherent policy mix are a powerful implementation tool.
The added value of R&I synergies in the context of S3 lies in facilitating participation in interregional partnerships and promoting interregional dialogue, thereby connecting regional innovation ecosystems on the basis of S3 priorities.