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Smart Specialisation in 2014-2020 ESI Funds Programmes: Not Just a Narrative journal article

Laura Polverari

European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, Volume 5 (2017), Issue 1, Page 20 - 31

This article explores the way in which Smart Specialisation has been integrated in the programming and implementation of the ESIF Operational Programmes of countries and regions which are partners in the IQ-Net Network – a network for improving the quality of Structural Funds programme management through exchange of experience. It discusses the design of Smart Specialisation Strategies through entrepreneurial discovery, the implementation of the strategies as part of the ESIF programmes, and the lessons learnt so far. It shows that the Smart Specialisation approach, albeit not novel in all cases, is considered on the whole as useful and to have contributed to better prioritisation and more joined-up policy-making. However, these are still early days and success will rest on effective implementation. This will require on-going engagement with stakeholders, to test and refine the validity of assumptions and choices made, and above all continued political endorsement to support cross-sectoral working and hold the private sector to account on their commitments to the strategy. The focus should now be placed on ensuring that implementation rises to the challenge and that adequate support is provided to regional and national authorities and to all types of stakeholders, throughout the life of the ESIF programmes, to allow them to continue to drive the Smart Specialisation approach through.

Smart Specialisation, a Strategy to Support the Transformation of a Consolidated Manufacturing System – The Emilia-Romagna Experience journal article

Silvano Bertini

European Structural and Investment Funds Journal, Volume 5 (2017), Issue 1, Page 32 - 43

Emilia-Romagna is a strong manufacturing region aiming to regenerate the roots of its competitiveness in the framework of the knowledge and innovation economy. Following the Smart Specialisation approach, the effort is twofold: consolidating existing fundamental clusters by introducing Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) in their knowledge basis and innovation processes; and fostering the emergence of new, highly innovative industrial systems, able to attract new qualified employment. The regional approach is highly systemic, not oriented to single niche industries, but geared towards complex and integrated clusters around common themes. Emilia-Romagna’s Smart Specialisation Strategy represents an ambitious effort to position a manufacturing system on the frontier of the new social needs.

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.

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.