Events Events


2018 SMARTER Conference on Smart Specialisation and Territorial Development

General Information


Four years have now passed since Smart Specialisation officially entered European policy. This approach to territorial development through the promotion of smart, inclusive and sustainable growth represents a unique opportunity in contemporary policy for territorial development; for the first time, national and regional authorities across an area of more than five hundred million inhabitants are implementing a common set of policy principles and methodologies.

This conference offers a comprehensive picture of the Smart Specialisation policy experience, including an evaluation of its early results, and highlights recent developments both conceptually and empirically. Particular attention will be given to implementation challenges and ways to address them, as well as to methodologies for impact assessment. In addition, the conference will explore how smart specialisation engages with global value chains and production networks, and how firms, regions and cities can benefit from relationships across the borders.

The concept of smart specialisation has now expanded in geographical scope beyond just Europe. The theory and practice of Smart Specialisation are being constantly developed and it is enriched by these processes. These developments will be discussed.

Themes of interest to the conference include:

  • Smart specialisation from design to implementation: lessons, challenges, opportunities, experiences and early results
  • Methods for monitoring and evaluation
  • Territorial economic analysis in support of smart specialisation
  • Smart specialisation, global value chains, and production networks
  • Urban challenges and strategies for innovation and development
  • Trans-regional and trans-national cooperation
  • Models of regional and multi-level governance
  • The Entrepreneurial Discovery Process and stakeholder involvement
  • The actors of smart specialisation: research organisations, businesses, public actors, civil society groups
  • Smart specialisation experiences worldwide

The submission of papers is now closed.

Only one author per selected abstract is invited to attend this conference.

Please note that interested stakeholders will be able to follow all plenary sessions of the SMARTER Conference by web streaming on the days of the event (link to be added closer to date).

This is a free conference, however the number of participants is limited (travel & accommodation must be covered by participants) and is open to both RSA members and non-RSA members.

Presenters should submit their PowerPoint presentation / paper, even in draft form, to the RSA by 18 September 2018 to be shared with the chairpersons of their respective sessions. To facilitate participants’ choice of parallel sessions, the documents could also be published on the RSA website in advance of the event.

To join the conversation, please use #SmartSpecialisation.


Conference Committee

  • Dominique Foray, Chair in Economics and Management of Innovation, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Slavo Radosevic, Professor of Industry and Innovation Studies, University College London, UK
  • Laura Polverari, Senior Research Fellow, EPRC, University of Strathclyde, UK
  • Kevin Morgan, Professor of Governance and Development, Cardiff University, UK 
  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Professor of Economic Geography, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
  • Charles W. Wessner, Research Professor, Georgetown University, USA
  • Philip McCann, Professor of Urban and Regional Economics, University of Sheffield, UK
  • Inger Midtkandal, Science and Technology Counsellor, Royal Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi, India
  • Caroline Paunov, Senior Economist and Head of Secretariat for the OECD Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy, France
  • Carlo Gianelle, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain
  • Fabrizio Guzzo, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain
  • Elisabetta Marinelli, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain
  • Caroline Cohen, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain
  • Dimitri Kyriakou, Lead economist, S3 Platform, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain
  • Sally Hardy, CEO, Regional Studies Association, UK
  • Daniela Carl, Deputy CEO, Regional Studies Association, UK
  • Wanda Miczorek, Events and Membership Officer, Regional Studies Association, UK

Conference co-organisers

Conference Organisation

Co-organised by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the Regional Studies Association European Foundation (RSA Europe).

RSA Conference Manager

Please contact Wanda Miczorek at  +44 (0)1273 698 017 for further details and questions regarding submission. 

Agenda and Presentations

2018 Smarter Conference Programme overview and detailed programme

All plenary sessions of the 2018 SMARTER Conference can be followed by web streaming on the days of the event.

Wednesday 26th September

14:00 - 15:45 Plenary Session: "Why places matters"


Thursday 27th September

9:15 - 10:30 Plenary Session(2): "Moving to Smart Specailisation 2.0."



14:00 - 15:30 Plenary Session (3): "Places, Networks and Value Chains"


Friday 28th September

9:15 - 9:45 Plenary Session(4): "Is Smart Specialisation a Game Changer?"