Baltic Sea Region

Smart Specialisation activities in the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region are facilitating interregional cooperation in the thematic objectives “Saving the Sea”, “Connecting the Region” and “Increasing Prosperity” aiming at balanced development, enhanced competitiveness and connectivity through innovative approaches promoting economic and social prosperity and growth in the region.

Baltic Sea Region

What is the S3 cooperation in BSR?

The EU Baltic Sea region (BSR) counts 85 million inhabitants (17 percent of EU population) and eight countries (Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) which share common features and challenges. In addition Norway, Belarus and Russia are welcome in the collaboration.

The EU Strategy for Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) and its Action plan is an integrated framework for identifying common needs and matching them with available resources through the coordination of appropriate policies to tackle common challenges. The strategy initiates initiatives in different sectors and promotes cooperation between stakeholders in the BSR.

Smart specialisation (S3) is a new building block for collaboration in innovation in the BSR, which can stimulate the constructive use of regional diversity to build globally-leading innovation hubs in common or complementary S3 areas.

What is the rationale?

The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region builds on long traditions of collaboration and established cooperation in the field of innovation among the countries. Various trans-national R&I collaborations and mechanisms for co-financing of activities have been tested within this framework. Nonetheless, to accelerate trans-national collaboration, institutions need to align their efforts more effectively to achieve synergies. With the S3 approach regions can explore competitive advantages at the macro-regional level making the best use of available assets, competences and funds with an ambition to become internationally competitive and plugged in to global value chains to strengthen their global position and visibility.


Macro-regional strategies aim at bringing together stakeholders from different policy levels and sectors. It's a platform which gathers a broad range of actors: national and regional stakeholders, sectorial ministries, OP managing authorities, academia, research, non-governmental organisations, etc. in an organised way to tackle common challenges. Thus the potential to mobilise relevant stakeholders and create strategic innovation partnerships at macro-regional level is higher.

A number of networks exist in the Baltic Sea Region fostering cooperation in relevant thematic areas such as:

What facilitates the S3 cooperation in BSR?

The S3 Platform facilitates work on synergies in S3 within the BSR. The S3P works closely with the Policy Area Innovation (PA INNO) of the EUSBSR, the Baltic Sea Region Programme, DG Regio and BSR countries and regions towards increased innovation and growth through S3 in the macro region. Several joint meetings and events have taken place to share knowledge and exploit the synergies and to match-make stakeholders around similar S3 priorities which gave impetus to new collaborative initiatives around.

The BSR Programme is an important instrument contributing to the implementation of the EUSBSR.  The programme has already approved some projects to enhance growth opportunities based on cooperation applying the S3 approach such as: Smart blue regionsEmpInnoBSR Stars S3

The network of European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) Managing Authorities work on aligning ERDF structural fund programmes in order to initiate project collaboration supporting the implementation of the EUSBSR . They have initiated a pilot project exploring how to jointly fund a collaborative activity in S3 in clean technologies.

Related links

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Latest registration

The latest region to register is South Denmark (DK).

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