Enhancing the sustainability dimension in Smart Specialisation strategies: a framework for reflection

Publication article | | MIEDZINSKI Michal; COENEN Lars; LARSEN Henrik; MATUSIAK Monika; SARCINA Angela

This report introduces a tested reflection framework that aims to provide guidance for enhancing the sustainability outcomes of Smart Specialisation strategies. To make the framework accessible and useful for policy makers in all interested regions and countries, the JRC consulted and tested the framework on the ground. The report is the result of a collaborative co-creation process that engaged more than 30 regional and national Smart Specialisation policy makers and experts from 12 regions and countries in Europe and beyond. Consultations and numerous exchanges with policy practitioners helped to significantly rework the framework and illustrate it with many practical insights into how sustainability challenges and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be integrated into steps of the Smart Specialisation process in practice in different territories.


This report introduces a tested reflection framework addressed to policy practitioners and experts working in regions and countries willing to strengthen the sustainability dimension of their Smart Specialisation strategies. The framework features reflection questions based on extensive theoretical research and tested in practice. The questions are illustrated with examples of current practices and practical insights from policy makers about each step of the Smart Specialisation process. The framework was co-developed in a close collaboration with more than 30 policy practitioners from 12 regions and countries in Europe and beyond. It was designed to sparkle inspiration on how to mobilise research and innovation to address the SDGs in diverse territorial contexts, including places facing institutional and structural challenges. The framework is underpinned by an inclusive approach to thinking about innovation and innovation policy considering them fundamental for fostering sustainability transition in all territories.

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