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Implementing RIS3 in the Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace: Towards a RIS3 tool box

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Abstract

This policy brief provides a summary of the approach and outcomes of a European Parliament Preparatory Action centred on the refinement and implementation of the Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3) in the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (REMTh). Implemented, mainly during 2015, by the European Commission (the Joint Research Centre in collaboration with the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy) and the Managing Authority of the region, this action also had the explicit aim to draw lessons for other low growth and less developed regions in Europe.


An essential aspect of the preparatory action was the opportunity it offered for stakeholders, the EC and the regional authority to share experiences and build a common understanding of RIS3 and the challenges to its implementation. This centred on a series of stakeholder events, critical for the mutual learning process and trust building among stakeholders. Stakeholders have thus worked together to identify and exploit research and innovation based opportunities for the region as well as tackling the challenges to RIS3 implementation.


The various tools developed and applied in the REMTh preparatory action can, taken together, be seen to constitute a toolbox of approaches for RIS3 implementation. This toolbox and the hands-on approach taken for the implementation of this Preparatory Action, as well as the flexibility to further adapt methodologies to local needs and context, can generate a wide set of tools and lessons on the implementation of regional smart specialisation strategies. These can be of benefit both to less developed regions that have struggled to restructure their economy in spite of considerable investments, and to all regions facing difficulties in implementing RIS3 as a new and largely unknown governance approach.