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Smart Specialisation: from the EU to the world

General Information

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission organised on 25 September 2018 the first global workshop on Smart Specialisation worldwide, which took place in Seville (Spain) ahead of the 2018 edition of the Smarter Conference.  The event brought together around 100 Smart Specialisation actors and experts (policy-makers, researchers, representatives from international organisations and practitioners) from more than 30 countries on the five continents. 

Key messages of this global appointment were that: (i) Smart Specialisation does not only have an added value at European scale, but also at global level, as a driver of place based economic transformation agendas; (ii) in the endeavour towards Smart Specialisation worldwide, spillover effects go both ways: not only can Smart Specialisation nurture the development of place-based research and innovation policies around the world, but it can also have a multiplier impact on the EU by fostering learning and opening up avenues for collaboration, as well as new business and investment opportunities; (iii) in a world marked by a high degree of diversity where "one size fits all" policies cannot function effectively, one of the strengths of Smart Specialisation is to tailor research and innovation policies to national, regional and local contexts. This makes Smart Specialisation fully malleable to all territorial realities; (iv) Smart Specialisation appears as a promising vehicle and enabling methodology for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Lessons learnt from current experiences in third countries: (i) Customisation and flexibility, as potential application of Smart Specialisation in the world should take stock on realities and different socio-economic contexts; (ii) Regional development, being smart specialisation as a driver of place based economic transformation agendas; (iii) Cooperation, as an inherent outcome of smart specialisation engaging different levels of collaboration (interregional, institutional, academic) and (iv) Skills, as a way to assure successful delivery of smart specialisation.


The event was webstreamed.


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Agenda and Presentations

Final agenda

Keynote speeches: Smart Specialisation: a policy approach "made in EU" gaining worldwide interest 

Moderator: Luis DELGADO SANCHO, Acting Director of the Growth and Innovation Directorate, JRC, European Commission  
  • Dominique FORAY, Dean of the School of Management, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland 
  • José Ignacio PERALTA SÁNCHEZ, Constitutional Governor of the Free and Sovereign State of Colima, Mexico and Coordinator of the Commission of Science and  Technology of the National Conference of Governors of Mexico 
  • Adam TYSON, Head of the North America, Latin America and Caribbean Unit, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), European Commission 

Roundtable 1: Smart Specialisation in the Americas, initiatives towards decentralised innovation policies

Moderator: Charles WESSNER, Professor of Global Innovation Policy at Georgetown University, USA 
  • Gloria MARMOLEJO JARAMILLO, Director General of the State Council of Science and Technology of Colima, Mexico (CECYTCOL) and Technical Secretariat of the Commission of Science and Technology of the National Conference of Governors of Mexico (CONAGO), Mexico 
  • Paulo EGLER, Responsible for International Cooperation, Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology, Brazil 
  • Gregory SPENCER, University College Dublin, Ireland 
  • Adam TYSON, Head of the North America, Latin America and Caribbean Unit, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), European Commission 

Roundtable 2: Smart Specialisation in Asia and Oceania, an inspiration for place-based innovation

Moderator: Inger MIDTKANDAL, Science Counsellor at the Commercial Section of the Royal Norwegian Embassy, India 
  • Bruce WILSON, Director of European Union Centre at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia 
  • Theresa MATHAWAPHAN, Deputy Executive Director / Chief Strategy, National Innovation Agency, Thailand 

Roundtable 3: Smart Specialisation in Africa, a driver for development?

Moderator: Fernando HERVÁS SORIANO, Deputy Head of Territorial Development Unit, JRC, European Commission 
  • Mafini DOSSO, Territorial Development Unit, DG JRC, European Commission 
  • Manasse MBONYE, Executive Secretary, National Council for Science and Technology, Rwanda
  • Amani CHARRAD, National Agency for Scientific Research Promotion, Tunisia 
  • Vinny PILLAY, South African Science Counsellor, Brussels 

Smart Specialisation in EU international relations: lessons and next steps

Setting the scene: concise feedback from roundtable sessions by rapporteurs
Moderator: Emanuela BELLAN, Head of Interinstitutional, Institutional Relations and Outreach Unit, JRC, European Commission 
  • Manfredo FANTI, Head of Division Americas Department/Regional Affairs, European External Action Service (EEAS)
  • Robert BURMANJER, Head of the Knowledge, Statistics and Data Hub Unit, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), European Commission 
  • Nona DEPREZ, Head of the Partnership Instrument Unit, Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), European Commission 
  • Marek PRZEOR, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO), European Commission


Smart Specialisation, a possible tool for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals?

Moderator: Alessandro RAINOLDI, Head of Territorial Development Unit, JRC, European Commission 
  • Viktor NEDOVIĆ, State Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Republic of Serbia 
  • Fernando SANTIAGO RODRIGUEZ, Directorate of External Relations and Policy Research, UNIDO 
  • Ernesto FERNANDEZ POLCUCH, Chief of Section, Science Policy and Partnerships, UNESCO 

Closing session and end of the meeting 

  • Charlina VITCHEVA, Deputy Director-General, JRC, European Commission 


Pabellón Tres Culturas, Seville (Spain)

Contact information

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