Conceived by the scientific community and incorporated into the reformed Cohesion Policy of the European Union (EU), Smart Specialisation is a place-based policy concept promoting regional economic transformation and investment through innovative activities in selected domains.
The Smart Specialisation approach is characterised by the identification of strategic priority areas for policy support, based on both the analysis of the strengths and potential of the economy, and an entrepreneurial discovery process engaging wide stakeholder communities in decision-making processes. It embraces a broad view of innovation that goes beyond research-oriented and technology-based activities, and requires a sound logic of intervention supported by effective monitoring mechanisms.
In recent years, over 100 Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) have been developed, mostly at regional level, across the Union. On the initiative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, the Smart Specialisation Platform (S3 Platform) was established at the Joint Research Centre with the main objective of providing science-based policy advice to regional and national authorities.
The insights of these Smart Stories - thanks to the valuable contributions of national and regional authorities - show that Smart Specialisation has gone far beyond the mere fulfilment of the ex-ante conditionality criteria linked to Cohesion Policy allocations. It has triggered a change in the way innovation-driven regional development policies are dealt with across Europe, confirmed by the outcome of a number of recent surveys.
These "Smart Stories" will take you through the features of Smart Specialisation as it has been applied in a number of EU countries and regions, letting you further explore the concept and its policy implications, and identify complementarities and potential for mutual learning and collaboration. The period of strategy development has in one sense finished; however, the process of implementing and monitoring S3 will hopefully lead to many more "Smart Stories" to be shared across all territories of the EU.
Download the booklet "Smart Stories, Implementing Smart Specialisation across Europe", a collection of over 30 testimonies.
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Notes: These stories are based on information provided by national and regional authorities. The images in the stories are for illustrative purposes and do not always reflect the S3 process itself.