Smart Specialisation in the Eastern Partnership countries - Potential for knowledge-based economic cooperation
Most Eastern Partnership countries have committed to developing their Smart Specialisation Strategies based on the Smart Specialisation Framework for EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Region (S3 Framework), developed by the JRC in cooperation with partner countries, international experts and policy directorates of the European Commission. The application of this EU-made innovation policy concept will allow Eastern Partners to promote knowledge-based economic development and targeted research and innovation policies building on territorial specificities, unique potentials and emerging niches. This effort has been recognised in the 2020 European Commission’s Joint Communication: ‘Eastern Partnership policy beyond 2020: Reinforcing Resilience – an Eastern Partnership that delivers for all’3 and the Joint Staff Working Document ‘Recovery, resilience and reform: post 2020 Eastern Partnership priorities’
The Eastern Partnership is a specific Eastern dimension to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Through the ENP, the EU works with its southern and eastern neighbours to achieve the closest possible political association and the greatest possible degree of economic integration. The Eastern Partnership aims to reinforce the political association and economic integration of six Eastern European and South Caucasus partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus1, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. Most EU Eastern Neighbours have committed to develop place-based Smart Specialisation Strategies for research and innovation with the objective of enhancing their competitiveness and drive structural change of the economies. The purpose of this study is to contribute to evidence-informed research and innovation policy, in particular the development of Smart Specialisation Strategies. The study presents a solid basis for these processes in the Eastern Partnership region by offering an extensive quantitative analysis of national-level potential in the economy, innovation, science and technology. A limited number of economic and innovation (E&I) specialisation domains matched with relevant scientific and technological (S&T) specialisation domains are identified for each Eastern Partnership country. The study proposes a new method to identify concordances between the EI and ST specialisation domains so that they can be used to inform ongoing Smart Specialisation processes in the Eastern Partnership countries with available international data. Interested countries need to compliment this analysis with the relevant national data sources and other useful information resulting from the qualitative expert inputs and stakeholder engagement. The report also indicates the evidence-informed areas for knowledge-based economic cooperation to support bilateral and region-wide initiatives.