Interregional Cooperation and Smart Specialisation: a Lagging Regions Perspective

Publication article | | Jayne Woolford, Effie Amanatidou Elisa Gerussi, Mark Boden

The aim of the present report is to explore key aspects of interregional and international cooperation in order to better understand whether and how they contribute to strengthening innovation ecosystems and interact and influence Smart Specialisation Strategies. The potential for lagging regions to participate in interregional and transnational cooperation remains under-exploited and this report examines the specific challenges that are relevant to low growth and less developed regions as well as the potential benefits and opportunities. It explores the nature and extent of mutual reinforcement between interregional collaboration and smart specialisation in a selection of lagging regions drawing on a survey, case studies, and events. Interviews were conducted with stakeholders in regional agencies and Ministries. The case study territories include: 1. Puglia, Italy 2. Centro, Portugal 3. Western Hungary, Hungary 4. Croatia (national level) 5. Extremadura, Spain 6. Western Macedonia, Greece 7. Nord-Est, Romania 8. Centru, Romania 9. Kainuu, Finland (non-lagging region collaborating with lagging regions)


This report has been prepared as part of the Lagging Regions project of the JRC. In the 2021-2027 programming period, smart specialisation strategies will be required to meet a series of fulfilment criteria around the relevant "enabling condition" of good governance. One such criterion relates to international collaboration, or measures for enhancing cooperation with partners in different countries in areas designated as priority areas for smart specialisation. The potential for Lagging Regions to participate in interregional and international cooperation remains under-exploited, and this report determines specific challenges as well as potential benefits and opportunities that are relevant for low-growth and low-income regions. An exploration of interregional and international cooperation aims to contribute to a better understanding of its role in strengthening innovation ecosystems and its interaction with Smart Specialisation in the context of Lagging Regions.

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