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2018 SMARTER Conference on Smart Specialisation and Territorial Development

General Information


Four years have now passed since smart specialisation officially entered European policy. This approach to territorial development through the promotion of smart, inclusive and sustainable growth represents a unique opportunity in contemporary policy for territorial development; for the first time, national and regional authorities across an area of more than five hundred million inhabitants are implementing a common set of policy principles and methodologies.

This conference offers a comprehensive picture of the smart specialisation policy experience, including an evaluation of its early results, and highlights recent developments both conceptually and empirically. Particular attention will be given to implementation challenges and ways to address them, as well as to methodologies for impact assessment. In addition, the conference will explore how smart specialisation engages with global value chains and production networks, and how firms, regions and cities can benefit from relationships across the borders.

The concept of smart specialisation has now expanded in geographical scope beyond just Europe. The theory and practice of smart specialisation are being constantly developed and it is enriched by these processes. These developments will be discussed.

We welcome contributions from all areas of regional analysis that carry analytical weight but also, which have operational applicability. The conference offers to a limited number of participants from academia, institutions and territorial authorities, a unique opportunity to discuss and define the scope and main avenues for future research and policy analysis, and to address the challenges confronting policymakers and practitioners. As well as academic submissions, papers by practitioners or co-authored by academics and practitioners are welcome. In addition, we welcome complete session proposals on a specific area/ issue including the list of 3-4 speakers and their papers.

Themes of interest to the conference may include:

  • Smart specialisation from design to implementation: lessons, challenges, opportunities, experiences and early results
  • Methods for monitoring and evaluation
  • Territorial economic analysis in support of smart specialisation
  • Smart specialisation, global value chains, and production networks
  • Urban challenges and strategies for innovation and development
  • Trans-regional and trans-national cooperation
  • Models of regional and multi-level governance
  • The Entrepreneurial Discovery Process and stakeholder involvement
  • The actors of smart specialisation: research organisations, businesses, public actors, civil society groups
  • Smart specialisation experiences worldwide

Submission of complete special session proposals

We invite proposals for complete special sessions on specific themes/areas within the scope of the conference. Proposals including the list of 3-4 speakers with their affiliations and their abstracts should be submitted by the prospective organizer(s) who will commit to promoting the paper submission process of their special session and chair or co-chair the session during the conference. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programming Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance. The papers submitted to special sessions will be also individually reviewed by the Conference Programming Committee.

Prospective organizers of special sessions should submit proposals indicating:

  • Title of the session.
  • Name(s) of organizer(s).
  • Affiliation of the organizer(s).
  • Email of the main contact person.
  • Description of the Special Session (in the form of a 500/1000- word outline highlighting the motivation and relevance for smart specialisation).
  • Potential participants (name, affiliation, the title of the contributions and abstracts when available).
  • Long abstracts of each proposed paper (500-1000 words, text only, no pictures, graphs or tables, structured in the following sections: Motivation/objectives; Main research question(s); Methodology; Results; Implications and discussion; Resources/references).

Submission of papers

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a long abstract (500-1000 words, text only, no pictures, graphs or tables) structured in the following sections: Motivation/objectives; Main research question(s); Methodology; Results; Implications and discussion; Resources/references.

Important details

Both, paper and complete special session proposals should be sent through the Regional Studies Association online portal at by Thursday 17th May 2018.

Delegate numbers for this free to attend the conference are limited (travel & accommodation must be covered by the delegate).

Paper proposals will be reviewed and selected by the Conference Programming Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.

Only one author per selected abstract will be invited to attend this conference. Please do not book your travel and accommodation until you have received an invitation. Only invited delegates will be able to attend the conference.


Conference Committee

  • Dominique Foray, Chair in Economics and Management of Innovation, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Slavo Radosevic, Professor of Industry and Innovation Studies, University College London, UK
  • Laura Polverari, Senior Research Fellow, EPRC, University of Strathclyde, UK
  • Kevin Morgan, Professor of Governance and Development, Cardiff University, UK 
  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Professor of Economic Geography, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
  • Charles W. Wessner, Research Professor, Georgetown University, USA
  • Philip McCann, Professor of Urban and Regional Economics, University of Sheffield, UK
  • Carlo Gianelle, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain
  • Fabrizio Guzzo, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain
  • Elisabetta Marinelli, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain
  • Caroline Cohen, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain
  • Sally Hardy, CEO, Regional Studies Association, UK
  • Daniela Carl, Deputy CEO, Regional Studies Association, UK
  • Wanda Miczorek, Events and Membership Officer, Regional Studies Association, UK


Click here to register


Conference organisers

Conference Organisation

Co-organised by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the Regional Studies Association European Foundation (RSA Europe).

RSA Conference Manager

Please contact Wanda Miczorek at  +44 (0)1273 698 017 for further details and questions regarding submission.