Danube Region

Smart Specialisation activities in the EU Strategy for the Danube Region are facilitating interregional cooperation in the thematic priority areas/pillars “Strengthening the Region”, “Connecting the Region”, “Building Prosperity” and “Protecting the Environment” aiming at balanced development, connectivity and enhanced competitiveness through innovative approaches promoting economic and social prosperity and growth in the region.

Danube Region

What is a Danube S3 cooperation?

The Danube Region is a unique and particularly diverse area as it encompasses 9 EU countries (Austria, 2 German regions: Baden-Württemberg and Bayern, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria) and 5 non-EU countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, Serbia and South-Western and Southern regions of Ukraine) of which some are accession countries and others are neighbourhood countries all together composing a heterogeneous macro-region with some high and low performing countries in the fields of research and innovation (R&I).

Smart Specialisation (S3) can make a valuable contribution to the better integration of the Danube region through the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), in the sense that it can stimulate the constructive use of regional diversity by avoiding uniformity and duplication in regional investment goals as well as help develop critical mass to tackle major common challenges.

What is the rationale?

In order to achieve a higher degree of territorial integration of the very heterogeneous Danube region the S3 cooperation is policy driver to tackle common challenges and needs in specific S3 priority domains. Cooperation in S3 among Danube countries has particular importance as coordinated R&I activities can contribute significantly to competitiveness and economic growth of these countries and improve cohesion of the whole macro-region through more efficient use of EU financial instruments. Collaboration for policy learning and policy intelligence could be particularly important for lagging regions, in particular non-EU countries what can benefit from the S3 process improving their existing R&I strategies, accessing R&I infrastructures and increasing research capacity.

Who should be involved in the Danube S3 cooperation?

The macro-regional strategies serve as multi-level platform, bringing together national, regional stakeholders, sectorial ministries, managing authorities of programmes, academia, research, local associations and etc. in an organised way to tackle common challenges. There is also a number of organisations, initiatives and programmes which attempt to address it on macro-regional level. Danube-INCO.NET report on Mapping of relevant stakeholders describing activities, positions, and good practices including recommendations for synergies provides guidance on Danube organisations which are relevant for collaboration research, innovation and high education.

The Danube Transnational Programme (Interreg) is important instrument contributing to the implementation of EUSDR.

How does Danube cooperation affect S3 strategies?

Macro-regional strategies such as EUSDR provide platforms for transnational collaboration and facilitate dialogue between different regions and policy sectors. This administrative arrangement increases opportunities to access to the EU financing, improves possibilities for influencing the policy agenda, provides access to partner search networks in the whole macro-region. S3 is a new building block in Danube cooperation. As a horizontal theme S3 allows for synergies and better streamlining of funding. The S3P supports Danube macro-regional strategy and works closely with relevant priority areas as well as the countries and regions to share knowledge and exploit the synergies through coordination of activities between different stakeholders and aligning resources and strategies which is very important for successful implementation of S3 strategies as well.

What facilitates the Danube S3 cooperation?

The JRC has been leading the coordination of numerous important undertakings and various JRC led transnational clusters and some Commission services in pursuing the scientific support to the Danube Strategy and to the Danube macro-region as a whole. The initiative of JRC Scientific Support to EUSDR has been launched by JRC in close cooperation with key scientific partners of the Danube Region to reinforce the implementation of the EUSDR though thematic clusters and horizontal activities to address the challenges faced by the Danube Region.

The support to S3 strategies in the Danube Region is one of the horizontal flagship activities proposed by the JRC under the Scientific Support to EUSDR initiative with the aim to foster the integrated and coordinated approach towards S3 at macro-regional level. In the frame of the initiative the S3 Platform organised and facilitated numerous events, to assist and to align the R&I agendas of Danube countries and regions.

The discussion of the importance of the transnational dimension of the RIS3 in the Danube region started in 2013 with the S3 seminar in Brussels. To bring the work forward a few events took place in Brussels and Vienna in 2014 to discuss the possibility to use EU funding instruments for a more effective transnational cooperation in S3 which resulted in to S3 Policy Brief “Developing Danube R&I Projects across Borders – How to Make the Joint Use of EC Funds a Reality?”. To gather information on successful collaboration partnerships S3P initiated the survey on Examples of Successful Inter-regional and Trans-national R&I Partnerships. Based on the results of the survey and the RIS3 priority mapping the S3P has invited the stakeholders to gather around common S3 priorities and to develop new project ideas in Danube S3 workshop in Vienna, July, 2015. The JRC Annual Event on the Scientific Support to EUSDR back-to-back with the annual forum of EUSDR in Ulm, October, 2015 provided arena to develop some of these collaborative initiatives further into concrete S3 projects

The S3P contributes to JRC activities in Danube-INCO.NET project which is a coordination and support action for the EUSDR. The project consortium unites forces of 19 project partners to support the policy dialogue, create networks and promote R&I activities in the Danube region.

The S3P leads the task of carrying out concrete actions towards fostering innovative and inclusive Danube societies through support of smart specialisation strategies.

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