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Smart Specialisation Evaluation: Setting the Scene

This report presents a set of preliminary conceptual and practical considerations on the evaluation of the Smart Specialisation policy. It opens a discussion that aims to set the scene for more articulated and detailed reflections.
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Abstract

It is important that evaluation exercises are focused on selected elements of the policy scheme; this facilitates identifying suitable evaluation questions and methodologies.

Evaluation is meaningful only in the presence of well-specified evaluation questions, stemming from the specific information needs of the actors involved in Smart Specialisation Strategies.

A well-defined intervention logic, linking clear ends with means, is essential for evaluation.

Monitoring systems act as early-warning mechanisms signalling critical aspects in the implementation, which call for deeper assessment and understanding through evaluation exercises.

To plan useful evaluations and increase the chances of their results being used require an ongoing commitment to develop a learning culture and build evaluation capabilities across institutions and stakeholders.