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Promoting innovation in transition countries: A trajectory for smart specialisation

JRC Science for Policy Report Alexander Kleibrink, Philippe Laredo and Stefan Philipp

Review of the state of development of clusters in EaP countries

STI International Cooperation Network for Eastern Partnership Countries – PLUS inno TSD, BELISA, CIP, ICARTI, NAS-RA, NASU, SDF-AZE, UKRTECHINFORM, DLR, EBN, SPI

Report – The Role of Smart Specialisation in the EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policies

Slavo Radosevic, Manfred Spiesberger, Lina Stanionyte, Ales Gnamus, Igor Yegorov, Sasho Josimovski

Moldova Moldova

Moldova is a small land-locked country with a population of approximately 4 million inhabitants bordering on Romania and Ukraine. In spite of the difficult social and economic situation Moldova has retained a functioning education system and a downsized research system.

The EU-Moldova Association Agreement was signed in 2014 and fully entered into force in 2016, establishing a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) and the Visa-free travel to the EU granted to Moldovan citizens. In the field of research and innovation Moldova became the first Eastern Partnership Country Associated to the EU’s Horizon 2020 (H2020) programme in 2014.

Under its Enlargement and Integration Action (E&IA), the JRC provides scientific and technical support to Horizon 2020 Associated Countries. Within this action S3 platform helps Moldova to identify economic competitive advantages and exploit the innovation potential, building on a process of entrepreneurial discovery for smart specialisation.  

The JRC Smart Specialisation Framework for EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Region is adopted on a voluntary basis by the countries interested in applying this EU-made innovation policy concept. JRC provides methodological support and guidance via its Enlargement and Integration Action, which so far has helped 13 EU Neighbours. Additional support is provided by DG REGIO and DG NEAR. In case of Moldova, it is a part of DG REGIO project focused on Smart Specialisation in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, implemented by JRC since 2019.

Moldova registered to Smart Specialisation Platform (S3P) at national level in 2016. Moldova is  one of the more advanced countries in the Eastern Partnership region in terms of developing its S3 strategy. It intends to finalise it by the end of 2020. Since the beginning of 2020 S3 is included in the action plan of the government, which gives it a push in relevance. The Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) started in June 2019 when the first 4 EDP workshops on Energy, ICT, Agriculture and Food processing and Biomedicine and Biopharmaceuticals were held. The EDP is still ongoing, as it was delayed due to the COVID-19 situation. Online meetings are envisaged to conclude the process in time.

S3 governance: the Ministry leading the S3 process is the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research (MECC). The governance arrangements include:

  • S3 team - involving MECC, the coordinators of the EDP groups, experts responsible for thematic areas, chamber of commerce, statistical office;
  • Interministerial group - involving MECC, Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure (MEI), Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment (MADRM), Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection (MSPMS), National Bureau of Statistics.


Programming 2021-2027

Smart Specialisation is included in the National Research and Innovation Programme of Moldova for the years 2020-2023. The programme foresees to approve strategic priorities of research and innovation activities for 2023-2027 according to smart specialisation niches identified. The implementation will be based on a mix of national, EU and international donor financing.

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Events Events

SME Conference "Smart Specialisation: Engine for Economic Growth in the Regions of the Republic of Moldova"

The S3 Platform together with external experts will present the potential smart specialisation priorities for Moldova at Smart Specialisation conference...

S3 Design Learning Workshop

In the framework of the project, the S3 Platform and the Academy of Sciences of Moldova organised the first workshop on smart...

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