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Higher education for Smart Specialisation: Greece opportunities in 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy

General Information


Organised in collaboration with the Regional Research and Innovation Council of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, this workshop is part of the project Higher Education and Smart Specialisation (HESS), an initiative of the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC). It focuses on the outcomes of the HESS case study of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.

Higher Education Institutions have a crucial role in designing and developing Smart Specialisation Strategies and in contributing to the development of their regions. In the 2021-2027 Multi-annual Financial Framework, Cohesion Policy will provide a new context in which Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) can support their regions in reaching the objectives of the European Regional Development Fund and Cohesion Fund, developing their leadership and innovation capabilities to boost regional growth and green and digital transitions.

The workshop will bring together national and regional policy makers, higher education institutions, business and international experts to discuss how HEIs are contributing to the implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3), based on the case study in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. The challenges and ways to move forward for a more effective contribution of higher education to regional growth will be discussed.

The workshop will have two main objectives. Firstly, the findings of the HESS Eastern Macedonia and Thrace case study will be shared and discussed, with a special focus on the three following topics:

  1. The incentives for HEIs/PROs to contribute to the regional S3
  2. The effectiveness criteria for HEI/PRO contributions to the regional S3
  3. The factors associated with the effectiveness of HEIs/PROs contribution to S3 and those factors that are more influential

Secondly, the workshop will give the opportunity to discuss the 2021-2027 European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) and Cohesion Funds (CF), with the novel introduction of ¨Skills for Smart Specialisation, industrial transition and entrepreneurship¨ under the Smarter Europe policy objective.

Higher Education institutions will benefit from the experience developed under the Higher Education for Smart Specialisation project and particularly the case study in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, as well as the example from the Northern Netherlands. This will allow participants to exchange ideas on the enhanced use of ERDF and Cohesion Funds in the context of Smart Specialisation Strategies.
Greek Higher Education Institutions, regional authorities and relevant stakeholders are invited to participate in the workshop and join the discussion.

Agenda and Presentations




FINAL EVENT (online)

10th February 2021


EET Greece time

15:15- 15:30

Welcome remarks

  • Joerg Niehoff, European Commission, DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
  • Angelos Syrigos, Deputy Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Responsible for Higher Education
  • Christos Dimas, Deputy Minister of Development and Investments, Responsible for Research and Innovation
  • Athanasios Kyriazis, Secretary General for Research and Innovation
  • Prof. Pantelis N. Botsaris, Regional Research and Innovation Council Eastern Macedonia and Thrace



Higher Education for Smart Specialisation: Eastern Macedonia and Thrace case study findings and HEI experience

Open discussion with participants on the following topics:

  • Key learnings from the case study
  • Potential actions that can be taken individually and collectively to move forward
  • Further support needed by public authorities at regional, national and EU level



Higher Education in Greece and future Smart Specialisation framework 2021-2027

  • HEInnovate opportunities and Country reviews

Maria Palladino, European Commission, DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture

Raffaele Trapasso, OECD, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Cities and Regions

  • HEInnovate Greece Country review experience

Lina Ioannou, Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Greece

  • National Strategy for Research, Technological Development and Innovation 2021 – 2027

Agni Spilioti, General Secretariat for Research and Innovation of the Ministry of Development and Investments, Greece

  • Regional stakeholder engagement in new RIS3 shaping

Luc Hulsman, SNN Northern Netherlands

Questions and Open discussion with participants

Moderator: Eskarne Arregui, European Commission, Joint Research Centre


17:45- 18:00

Higher Education for Smart Specialisation and HEInnovate: Future opportunities

  • Mark Boden, European Commission, Joint Research Centre
  • Joerg Niehoff, European Commission, DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture

Workshop closure

Contact information

Eskarne Arregui