An Institutional Delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina visits the JRC in Seville to discuss Smart Specialisation

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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) received a delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina in its Seville premises last 28th and 29th of November, 2022 to discuss the state of the art of the Smart Specialisation design process in that Balkan country. The collaboration between the Territorial and Urban Development unit of the JRC with Bosnia and Herzegovina is part of the project “Support to Smart Specialisation in the Enlargement and Neighbourhood region” and seeks to boost innovation policies through public investment. The delegation was composed of both entities of the Western Balkan country, the Republika Srpska (RS) and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) with the Ministry of Education and the Council of Ministers, respectively. 

In addition to the scheduled meetings with JRC representatives, the agenda included a visit to external regional development institutions, Corporacion Tecnologica de Andalucia (CTA) and the Agencia de Innovacion y Desarrollo de Andalucia (IDEA). Both organisations have been involved in the implementation of Smart Specialisation for a relevant period so the delegation was able to learn from their experience first-hand. They particularly elaborated on the functioning of intermediaries and their importance during the Smart Specialisation process. The overall two-day interactive activity provided an opportunity to foster a constructive dialogue around the main challenges Bosnia and Herzegovina faces in its path toward the draft of a Smart Specialisation Strategy and the selection of its priority areas. Especial interest was given to key aspects regarding territorial organization, limited availability of resources and limited critical mass of some administrative units, i.e. cantons. Later, a presentation of results took place and it showed the quantitative analysis of the economic, scientific and innovation potential of the country, as the first step of the diagnosis phase for the identification of the priority areas. 

As the meeting came to an end, Bosnia and Herzegovina stated its commitment to continue reinforcing its S3 process in collaboration with the JRC while focusing on the main challenges identified. This includes strengthening the institutional capacity for Smart Specialisation that is strongly connected to the need of defining a functioning S3 governance structure, which covers both the managerial and technical aspects of the strategy. The quantitative mapping phase that has been recently closed will have to be complemented by a qualitative analysis with the aim of unveiling inter-sectoral innovation potential in the country.