An intervention-logic approach for the design and implementation of S3 strategies

Publication article | | Doussineau M., Saublens C., Harrap N

The report invites policy makers to address the questions about the ‘why’ (is the intervention addressing a problem?), the ‘who’ (what is the target of the intervention?), and the ‘how’ (do I have financial and administrative resources?). Starting from a pre-existing Smart Specialisation Strategy, the results-oriented ‘stress-test’ is divided into six steps: (1) the assessment of stakeholders’ needs, (2) the strategy operationalisation, (3) the estimation of target indicators, (4) the strategy implementation and management, (5) the resource allocation and (6) a final consistency check.


Smart Specialisation is conceptualised as research and innovation policymaking encompassed in a holistic place-based view of development. It combines an organisational bottom-up approach with a structural approach, stressing interactions among local and international actors that participate and facilitate reflexive learning processes. The issue of governance is key and multi-level governance is instrumental for advancing with the goal of the strategy on the ground. The need to connect top-down EU policies with place-based facts and ambitions that translate into competitive advantage, generating growth and jobs, makes governance the cornerstone of the Smart Specialisation process. In the context of the revision of the existing strategies the need to reassess the coherence of policy intervention is of crucial importance to address the local but also the global challenges faced by EU territories.

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