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Pomorskie Smart Specialisations – Revolution in R&D Issues in the Region journal article

Karolina Lipinska, Monika Radziszewska

European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, Volume 5 (2017), Issue 1, Page 44 - 52

This article describes how local government in Pomorskie built on the existing regional key clusters strategy using a bottom-up approach to developing the smart specialisation strategy.The article outlines in detail the process through which smart specialisations were selected, which enabled the participation of numerous entities in the proposal submission and selection process, and the impact that can already be seen in terms of applications submitted under international and regional calls for proposals, as well as highlights some of the success factors identified by the region.

From Projects to Transformations: Why Do Only Some Countries and Regions Advance? The Case of the Slovenian S4 journal article open-access

Peter Wostner

European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, Volume 5 (2017), Issue 1, Page 84 - 96

The paper scrutinises the Smart Specialisation approach conceptually as well as its practical application in the case of Slovenian Smart Specialisation Strategy, the S4. It argues that Smart Specialisation still tends to be too narrowly applied and that its potential, on the EU level, is not yet fully exploited. The paper investigates where the roots of competitiveness in the modern world lie and argues that investment is a necessary but not a sufficient condition and that it is structural transformation that is at the heart of advancement. The Slovenian S4’s major contribution is not only in the setting of national priorities as regards innovation. What matters even more is that S4 is fundamentally transforming the way stakeholders on the ground interact with each other, creating value networks, but it is also transforming the way policy-making is done within the government. It is shifting the perception of the government as a source of financing to a facilitator of change. The paper demonstrates how fundamental is the difference between the financing of projects and the financing of policies. They are the flipside of the same coin as investment and structural transformation, with the former being a necessary but not sufficient condition for advancement of non-frontier regions and it is here that policies like Cohesion policy with their ex-ante conditionalities really make a difference. Finally, structural transformation is very hard to achieve, which is why putting external pressure for change but also a guarantee of longer term commitment through ex-ante conditionality, i.e. outside pressure, is critical.

RIS3 Implementation in Lagging Regions: Lessons from Eastern Macedonia and Thrace journal article

Mark Boden

European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, Volume 5 (2017), Issue 1, Page 77 - 83

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission provides support to selected slow growth and less developed regions in the implementation of their Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). In addition to the envisaged impacts in these regions, this work also aims to generate wider lessons for RIS3 implementation across the EU. This article describes the approach and key outcomes of this RIS3 support activity in the Greek Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Focused on the engagement of stakeholders across the region, this activity has sought to catalyse the entrepreneurial discovery process in the region, identifying and developing ideas and partnerships for research and innovation projects. It has examined the development of technical and administrative capacities necessary to advance RIS as well as the structures and processes for effective and appropriate RIS3 governance. This work has led to the development of a “tool box” to support RIS3 implementation. This toolbox is currently being developed and further refined and developed for application in less favoured regions across the EU.

Corallia’s Cluster Development Programme: An ERDF-funded Initiative Supporting Smart Specialisation in Greece journal article

Nikos Vogiatzis, Jorge-A. Sanchez-P., Vassilios Makios

European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, Volume 5 (2017), Issue 1, Page 69 - 76

Corallia is a Unit of the Research and Innovation Centre Athena, under the auspices of the General Secretariat for Research and Technology, established in Greece for the management and development of Innovation Clusters. Corallia’s activities focus on knowledge-intensive and exports-oriented technology segments, where Greece has the capacity to build sustainable innovation ecosystems, thus effectively supporting Smart Specialisation strategies in those regions. In the last decade, Corallia has implemented successfully several milestone national development programmes for cluster development, utilising European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This paper describes the cluster development programme that Corallia managed in the 2000-2006 and 2007-2013 programming periods that were co-financed by ERDF via the National Operational Programmes of the 3rd and 4th Community Support Frameworks respectively.

Reconciling Smart Specialisation Strategies with State aid – Not an Impossible Mission journal article

Péter Staviczky, Fatime Barbara Hegyi

European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, Volume 5 (2017), Issue 4, Page 264 - 276

This article highlights the relevance of State aid law both for policy makers and aid grantors when implementing smart specialisation strategies (S3). Smart specialisation involves member states or regions focussing their investments related to research and innovation on areas that will exploit emerging opportunities and market developments in a coherent manner, while State aid law contributes to the effective implementation of policies, controls the spending of public funds and prevents subsidy races between Member States, thereby enabling to the maintenance of effective competition on the internal market. The article aims to contribute to the cross-policy approach necessary for the efficient use of European Structural and Investment Funds. It also shows that complying with State aid law can be done with less administrative burden than in the previous programming period, however planning is needed to ensure compliance and to minimise risk of breaching the requirements. Thus, the right approach to State aid law is the early recognition of situations where State aid may be present and making the necessary steps to avoid the risk of repayment to the grantor (recovery).