What is S3 cooperation in BSR?
The EU Baltic Sea region (BSR) counts 85 million inhabitants (17 percent of EU population) and eight countries (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) which share common features and challenges. In addition Norway, Belarus and Russia are welcome in the collaboration.
EU Strategy for Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is an integrated framework for identifying common needs and matching them with available resources through the coordination of appropriate policies to takle common challenges. The strategy brings initiatives in different sectors as well promotes cooperation bettween stakeholders in the BSR.
Smart specialisation (S3) is a new building block for collaboration in innovation in the BSR, which can stimulate the constructive use of the regional diversity to build globally-leading innovation hubs in common or complementary S3 areas.
How does BSR cooperation affect S3 strategies?
Collaboration in S3 is a new catalyser in innovation activities between actors from BSR countries. The macro-regional level can increase opportunities to access EU financing, improve possibilities for influencing the policy agenda and provide access to partner search networks. The macro-regional dimension in S3 provides a wider choice of combinations of actors, areas and expertise for strategic transnational R&I partnerships in the relevant S3 priority domains. Furthermore, macro-strategies emphasize greater co-ordination between different stakeholders and aligning resources and strategies between private and public actors of different governance levels which is very important for successful implementation of S3 strategies as well.
What is the rationale?
The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region has long traditions and there is already established cooperation in the field of innovation among the countries. Various trans-national R&I collaborations and mechanisms for co-financing of activities have been tested within this framework. Nonetheless, to accelerate trans-national collaboration institutions need to align their efforts more effectively to achieve synergies. With the S3 approach regions can explore competitive advantages at the macro-regional level making the best use of available assets, competences and funds with an ambition to become internationally competitive and plugged in to global value chains to strengthen their global position and visibility.
Macro-regional strategies aim at bringing together stakeholders from different policy levels and sectors. It's a platform which gathers a broad range of actors: national and regional stakeholders, sectorial ministries, OP managing authorities, academia, research, non-governmental organisations, etc. in an organised way to tackle common challenges. Thus the potential to mobilise relevant stakeholders and create strategic innovation partnerships at macro-regional level is higher.
What facilitates S3 cooperation in BSR?
The S3 Platform facilitates work on synergies in S3 within the BSR. The S3P works closely with the Priority Area Innovation (PA INNO) of the EUSBSR, the Baltic Sea Region Programme, DG Regio and BSR countries and regions towards increased innovation and growth through S3 in the macro region. Several joint meetings and events have taken place to share knowledge and exploit the synergies and to match-make stakeholders around similar S3 priorities.
The initiative to connect the BSR through S3 began in 2013 as a part of the EUSBSR workshop in Vantaa (FI) at the time most of the countries and regions had started designing their Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). To accelerate the collaboration in S3 the matchmaking event around thematic RIS3 areas was developed by the S3 platform together with region Skåne and was held in November 2013. The event was part of a conference on BSR collaboration "Get smarter together in the Baltic Sea Region".
The work was followed up by collaborative RIS3 workshops in Jurmala (LV) and Vilnius (LT) in 2014. Out of this process Health issues have emerged as the most interest topic for regions in the BSR to collaborate upon. To further this, PA INNO, region Skåne and the S3 Platform invited stakeholders to discuss opportunities to develop a transnational BSR platform in eHealth based on the current RIS3 in the workshop of EUSBSR annual forum in Jurmala, June 2015.
How Outward-looking is Smart Specialisation? - Results from a survey on inter-regional collaboration in Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3)
S3 Policy Brief Series No. 16/2016 Jens Sörvik, Inger Midtkandal, Chiara Marzocchi and Elvira Uyarra
06/2014 Elvira Uyarra, Jens Sörvik and Inger Midtkandal