Guide on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3 Guide) Guide on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3 Guide)

This guide is targeted at Structural Funds Managing Authorities, policy-makers and regional development professionals.  It sets out the concept of smart specialisation and provides orientations on how to develop research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3). Guidance is structured around six practical steps:

1) Analysing the innovation potential
2) Setting out the RIS3 process and governance
3) Developing a shared vision
4) Identifying the priorities
5) Defining an action plan with a coherent policy mix
6) Monitoring and evaluating

For a short overview see the "fact-sheet".

The core text of the RIS3 Guide is also available here in a version open to comments by readers.

A number of FAQ (frequently asked questions) on smart specialisation, the RIS3 process and methodology, complement the guide.

The guide also presents in a compact form some main delivery instruments that could be used to implement smart specialisation strategies, in particular cluster support, university-enterprise cooperation, SME innovation support, centres of competence and research infrastructures, public procurement of innovation etc. Some of these policy tools and challenges related to RIS3 are further explained in thematic guides.

The guide is designed as a 'living document', which will be regularly completed and up-dated based on comments we receive and issues arising from its practical application within the EU Regional and Cohesion Policy. If you have any comments and suggestions on how to further improve the guide, please send them in a mail message to:


This update of Annex III to the RIS3 guide is intended to provide practical tools to policy-makers, experts and practitioners working at both national and regional level on how to approach the process of establishing their RIS3 and to assess them, including guidance on the use of the RIS3 assessment wheel.