During the September workshop, five regions: Castile and León (ES), Crete (GR), Moravia-Silesia (CZ), Nordland (N) and Umbria (IT) presented their current work on RIS3. The rest of workshop participants acted as 'critical friends' and discussed the strategies of the five regions under review. All five regions had a number of shared priorities in their RIS3 and these have been discussed in detail during the peer review.
Building on the experience gained during the previous peer-review workshops organised by the S3 Platform, a purposely developed S3 Peer Review methodology was employed as an instrument to support EU regions and Member States in the development of their RIS3 (Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation).
RIS3 and Green Growth
We have discussed the role of Green Growth in research and innovation strategies. This session focused on the role of environment in the context of Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation, with discussions around some of the following issues: green growth (eco-innovation, environment-friendly innovation), Quadruple Helix and environment, etc. Some of the five regions (that will be peer reviewed in Crete) indicated some of the following thematic interests: agro-food, aquaculture, tourism, metallurgy and energy.
Looking beyond regional boundaries (the so-called outward-looking dimension) is an important element of a good smart specialisation strategy. We invited Dr Xenophon Tsilibaris to give an overview of one practical example how this could be done. He told participants about the ICT-AGRI FP7 project which is a cross-thematic ERA-NET spanning three FP7 themes: Agriculture and food supply; Environment and climate; and Information and Communication Technology. New technologies are rapidly emerging and will be capable of revolutionising farming in the near future. ICT-AGRI is supporting the development and implementation of these new technologies for a competitive, sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture. ICT-AGRI aimed to coordinate such European research in ICT and robotics and develop common research agenda based on shared priorities.
The overall goal of the ICT-AGRI FP7 project was to strengthen existing European research efforts in the area and develop a common European research agenda concerning ICT and robotics in agriculture, and to follow up with calls based on funds from the participating countries' national research programmes. ICT-AGRI has 18 partners and 14 observers from 21 countries. It was initiated on 1 May 2009 and ended on 31 July 2013.
European Scenarios and Taxonomy of FP7 Key Technologies
Dr Enrico Wolleb and Dr Andrea Ciffolilli from Ismeri Europa discussed how the techno-economic framework they developed could be applied to Smart Specialisation Strategy's implementation. As part of a technology assessment carried out to benchmark the industrial research laboratories which were being financed by the Region Emilia-Romagna, ISMERI developed a set of technological scenarios based on an original taxonomy of 41 key research areas and 158 key technologies. In the current programming period, the labs received funding for infrastructures, equipment and personnel, and the European Commission required to assess their performance as a condition for approving the ERDF OP.
These scenarios reflect the endeavours and research trends of the most active European actors in a number of fields, including agro-food, mechanics and materials, life-sciences, energy and environment, ICT, and construction industry. This exercise allowed to highlight the research areas and the key technologies on which the investments of the European research excellence are concentrated. As part of the analysis, the team identified the best performers in each area. The findings are being used to develop the regional strategy and to support RTDI policy choices for the next programming period. The instruments developed during the project have a far reaching potential and can be used in other contexts as well. In particular there are two relevant fields of application: (1) support priority setting, programming and implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategies and (2) monitoring and evaluation of R&I projects/programmes.
Professor Ron Boschma presented the concept of related variety and its impact on regional growth (Smart Specialisation). He currently serves as a Director of Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy (CIRCLE), Lund University, Sweden. His research interests are in evolutionary economic geography and regional systems of innovation.
Professor Elias G. Carayannis is Director of Research on Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and European Union Research Center at the School of Business of the George Washington University in Washington, DC. His teaching and research activities focus on the areas of strategic Government-University-Industry R&D partnerships, international science and technology policy, entrepreneurship and regional economic development.
Dr Andrea Ciffolilli is a policy advisor at Ismeri Europa. His work focuses on analysis and evaluation of R&I support and the performance of EU Cohesion Policy. He is a member of the Expert Evaluation Network which delivers analysis on the achievements of the Structural programmes 2007-2013 (DG Regio), he has worked at building up technology scenarios for a number of European industries and is a Regional Innovation Monitor correspondent (DG ENTR).
Nicos Komninos is a professor of Urban Development and Innovation Policy at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He has co-ordinated about 90 projects under the European Programmes. His research interests are on innovation ecosystems and intelligent cities. He has also been involved in the development of regional innovation strategies in Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Lithuania.
Åge Mariussen is Botnia-Atlantica Institute leader at the University of Vaasa, Finland and Senior Researcher at the Nordland Research Institute, University of Nordland, Norway. His expertise is the area of regional development, industrial restructuring, social cohesion and transnational learning. The Botnia-Atlantica Institute is a transnational institute set up to promote development in the Botnia Atlantica Region.
Lise Smed Olsen provided regional policy makers at the workshop with a useful reference on regional challenges and opportunities related to green growth and innovation. Her presentation will be based on the results of a recent project on Regional Strategies for Green Growth and Innovation of a leading international research institute - Nordregio - in the broad field of regional studies.
Manolis Stratakis currently leads the department of Innovation of Forthnet S.A. Among his duties of producing sustainable innovation, he manages several European research projects. He is experienced at consulting the public sector/SMEs about new technologies. He has participated in many international committees charged with the development of strategies against important societal problems with the use of ICT.
Dr Xenophon Tsilibaris will represent the ICT-AGRI FP7 project. He works at GRNET (Greek Research and Technology Network) operating under the Greek Ministry of Education. Its mission is to provide quality Infrastructure services to the research and educational community, and to disseminate ICT to the general public. He is responsible for designing/implementing policies supporting SMEs to become innovative through ICTs.
Dr Enrico Wolleb, director of Ismeri Europa, has done research on policy issues with focus on RTDI, Structural and Cohesion initiatives. He contributed to a method for the analysis of regional R&I systems implemented in France with the EC support. He also coordinated an EU-Latin America cooperation on good practices (regional innovation strategies), evaluating RTDI policy and designing measures for the inclusion of SMEs in the innovation system.
Ryan Weber, Lise Smed Olsen, Apostolos Baltzopoulos, Aslı Tepecik Diş, Christian Fredricsson, Liisa Perjo, Haukur Claesson and Ramus Ole Rasmussen, 2012. Scoping Green Growth and Innovation in Nordic Regions. Working paper. Regional Strategies for Green Growth and Innovation. Nordregio Working Paper 2012:11. Lise Smed Olsen, Ryan Weber (Eds.)