About the S3 Platform

The S3 Platform assists EU countries and regions to develop, implement and review their Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). Established in 2011 following the Communication "Regional Policy contributing to smart growth in Europe 2020", the role of the S3 Platform is to provide information, methodologies, expertise and advice to national and regional policy makers, as well as promote mutual learning, trans-national co-operation and contribute to academic debates around the concept of Smart Specialisation.

Registration on the S3 Platform is open to regional and national administrations of EU, candidate, neighbouring countries and to any other non-EU third country national or regional administration that wish to be involved and participate in the S3 Platform.

The Platform is hosted by JRC's Growth and Innovation Directorate (Dir. B) in Seville.

It is made up of three main parts:

  • A project management and research team at the JRC.
  • A Steering Team gathering representatives of several Commission Services.
  • A Mirror Group composed of leading academics and experts in the fields of innovation and regional development, as well as representatives of networks such as EURADAERRINEBNOECDEuropean Cluster Observatory and European Cluster Alliance).
In the current competitive world, the European Union needs to ensure that all European investments create the best possible impact on the ground. Smart Specialisation is the collective process that more than 180 European regions and 19 countries are currently using to identify their strengths and their opportunities. It's based on strong partnership between business, public sector and knowledge institutions to jointly design and implement their research and innovation investment strategies.

What is Smart Specialisation?

Smart specialisation is an innovative approach that aims to boost growth and jobs in Europe,
by enabling each region to identify and develop its own competitive advantages.

Where we are

Registered countries and regions in the S3 Platform.

S3 Newsletter

To keep up to date you can subscribe to our S3 digital newsletter (issued monthly).​​​​​​​


Conceptual and methodological guidance

The S3 Platform contributes to the academic conceptual development of smart specialisation and to the methodology for its application, together with academics, policy-makers and practitioners. As the main methodological reference, the RIS3 Guide is regularly updated on this website. With regard to regular contributions, the S3 Platform publishes policy briefs and working papers providing analysis, food for debate and policy recommendations. The debate is also channelled through periodical "mutual learning" exercises with experts supporting regions and countries around RIS3 and representatives of Commission services.

Peer review

Based on existing practice, the S3 Platform has developed its own tailored methods for reviewing RIS3 and organises regular workshops for registered regions and countries. These workshops aim at enhancing trans-national mutual learning and exchange of good practice. The S3 Platform peer-reviews allow to concentrate the debate and mutual learning in time and space, letting peers and experts discuss a number of issues selected by the peer-reviewed regions or countries. Beside peer-reviews dealing with the whole RIS3 process, the S3 Platform is developing more focussed workshops targeting specific steps of the process or areas of specialisations.

Academic research and analysis

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the scientific and technical arm of the European Commission which produces multi-disciplinary research to inform EU policy challenges. Smart specialisation is an example of how theory and practice can inform each other and how the EU can draw on the wide range of academic expertise in the various institutes of the JRC.


The Platform organises two main types of events: Outreach seminars in different European locations explain and promote the concept of smart specialisation to all interested regions and institutions; Workshops for registered regions address specific aspects of concern to regional policy makers. In addition, the Platform can support Member States in organising national events on Smart Specialisation.

Transnational mutual learning

The Platform develops mutual trans-national learning tools shifting gradually from the more general assessment of national and regional smart specialisation strategies to more targeted "discussion paths" on specific themes, with regard namely to: (i) specific actors / stakeholders of the RIS3 process such as universities and knowledge institutions, SMEs, science and technology parks, etc.; (ii) common features of regions such as rural / urban areas, peripheral areas etc.; (iii) specific policy tools (such as governance setup, funding tools, cluster support, monitoring and evaluation, etc.; (iv) common RIS3 priorities of regions and countries.

Management of the S3P website

Designed principally for regions and countries that have registered on the Platform, the website can be of use to anyone interested in smart specialisation. It provides information on relevant projects and resources. In addition, specially designed interactive tools are currently being developed as online resources for registered regions and countries.