The Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) approach has constituted a real opportunity for the Brittany Region by bringing together the regional strategies for economic development together with those for research and innovation. It has helped to frame the regional public action on 7 Strategic Innovation Domains (DIS), notably through the prioritisation of funding.
A sense of ownership of the S3 process has rapidly emerged, as stakeholders were largely involved in the shaping and orientation of the S3 development process. Research and innovation projects were monitored at the level of the Strategic Innovation Domains (DIS), throughout the execution of the S3, using existing tools upgraded with new features or new monitoring tools.
The regional monitoring mechanism at the level of the Strategic Innovation Domains (DIS) enables the region to grasp major trends and dedicated financial volumes, even if all areas are well represented. The projects monitored encompass the Region's schemes, national partnership arrangements and European initiatives (such as Interreg Call for Projects INKREASE - SET-UP - CYBER, Pilot Actions on Cybersecurity and Marine Renewable Energies, H2020). Out of a total budget of 245 million euros over the period 2015-2018, of which about 14.3 million euros of ERDF funding, the areas that receive the highest levels of support are technologies for the digital society for more than 60 million, the (agro) sustainable food chain for more than 34 million euros, and health and well-being for more than 30 million euros.
In terms of governance, the Region promotes the S3 through both informal networks such as the NOE Bretagne Network as well as more formal bodies such as the Regional Advisory Committee for Research and Technological Development (CCRRDT) where all actors are represented (universities, schools, institutes, competitiveness clusters, Technopoles, IRT, SATT, companies, communities, etc.).
In addition, a call for collaborative innovation projects at the crossroads of Strategic Innovation Domains (DIS) has been launched on a yearly basis since 2016, in order to enhance public-private research collaboration and the emergence of new technologies. It holds a technical pre-selection committee that brings together key innovation players. Brittany's 7 competitiveness clusters are responsible for managing the collaborative R & D projects, notably by matching SMEs ventures with public research laboratories' competencies. In order to facilitate the process, the Region has developed a search engine entitled "Plug in labs Ouest" that classifies all the scientific competencies of public research laboratories according to the regional S3 priorities (DIS). Thus, the competitiveness clusters bring together economic and research actors with similar S3 thematic interests around shared development strategies within the national-regional governance framework.
This support is aimed at developing innovative products / services / processes that could have an impact in terms of business creation and therefore employment, thanks to its positioning at the crossroads of strategic sectors where innovation with high growth potential is often created.
Since 2016, there have been around 30 collaborations including 5 interregional projects that have been supported. They involve more than a hundred players including nearly 40 laboratories. In total, 12.1 million euros (of which 5.8 million euros from ERDF) were mobilized mainly on technologies for the digital society (34%), maritime activities for blue growth (16%), health and well-being for a better quality of life (15%), advanced technologies for industrial applications (15%) and the sustainable agro-food chain for quality food products (14%).
The results of a first completed project show the leverage-type impact of the support mechanism for the businesses involved. Indeed, an industrial and financial partnership has been concluded with a large company, allowing quick access to the target market. By the end of the year 2019, 8 other promising projects are expected to come to term.