Campania lags behind both the Italian national and European economy in terms of economic development, with one of the lowest levels of regional GDP in PPS per capita in 2016 in Italy, corresponding to 66% and 64% of both the Italian and the EU averages. The recent economic crisis has affected the regional economy and the region has the third highest unemployment rates in Italy and Europe - 21.2% in 2017 -well above the national and the EU average of 11.4% and 7.8% respectively. 
In Campania, there are eight competence centres, which carry out technology transfer activities and seven universities. In 2015, Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD) per inhabitant was €219.4 in Campania compared to €364.5 in Italy and €593.5 in the EU and contributed 5.8% of the national GERD. Over the period 2011-15 GERD grew by 11% in line with the Italian average but below the European one (14%). Campania is under industrialised with respect to the rest of the country, therefore the contribution of Business Expenditure in R&D (BERD) to GERD is lower than in the other Italian regions, accounting for just 0.55% of GDP (compared to 0.78% in Italy and 1.31% in the EU). In 2017, employment in the high-tech sectors represented only 2.2% of the employed population compared to the Italian and the European averages (respectively 3.4% and 4%).  
In 2017, the number of registered companies were 586,821 with an annual growth rate between 2016 and 2017 of 1.4%. The service sector is the most prevalent, with a share of 69% of the total companies, followed by the manufacturing sector (including construction) with a share of 20% and agriculture with a share of 11%.
The Campanian Smart Specialisation Strategy pursues two horizontal lines of action:
  1. Strengthening networks of the regional innovation system
  2. Promoting a society-driven approach to the establishment of the Information Society. 
It focuses on the following technological domains:
  1. Aerospace;
  2. Logistics;
  3. Biotechnologies-Life Sciences and Agribusiness;
  4. Energy and the Environment;
  5. Cultural-heritage tourism-sustainable building;
  6. Advanced nano-materials.


Puglia (Apulia) lags behind the national economy in terms of economic development and has been significantly impacted by the economic crisis. In 2016, the regional nominal GDP per capita was 37% lower than the national average, whilst GDP per inhabitant in purchasing power standard (PPS) was 62% of the EU-28 average. The overall unemployment rate of 19.4% in 2016 exceeded the national average of 11.7% as did the youth unemployment rate - 49.6% compared to a national rate of 37.8%. Nevertheless, over the period 2004-2017, the share of high-school graduates in work increased from 37.7% to 41.2% of the total, and the share of workers with a university degree from 12% to 19.4%. 
In Puglia, the amount of investment in R&D in 2015 was equal to 1.01% of regional GDP and 3.2% of the total national investment in R&D. The higher education sector accounts for about 50% of this investment, the business enterprise sector for 36.8% and the government sector for 11.9%. People with a tertiary education employed in science and technology represented, in 2013, 11.2% of active population, below the national and EU28 average of 14% and 20.1% respectively.
The S3 in Puglia is the result of a participatory process launched in 2013 by the regional authority and supported by the Regional Agency for Technology and Innovation (ARTI). All relevant stakeholders and productive and technological districts are engaged and the S3 is organised around three priority areas (which are further sub-divided into sub-sectors or sub-priorities): 
  • Sustainable Manufacturing
  • Human and Environmental Health
  • Digital, Creative and Inclusive Communities