Portugal has recovered well from the global financial crisis: since 2014 annual GDP per capita growth rates have averaged 4-5% while unemployment has halved from 14% in 2014 to 7% in 2018. However, employment in hi-tech sectors is only 2.8%, significantly lower than the EU average of 4% (2016 figures) and is unevenly distributed across the national territory with a large proportion of such jobs found in the capital region of Lisbon. In 2018, Portugal had a GERD (gross domestic expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP) of 1.35%, of which the greatest proportion came from the business sector at 47.8%, followed by higher education at 45.1%.

Portugal is a Moderate Innovator according to the 2019 European Innovation Scoreboard, while each of its seven regions are also individually classified as Moderate Innovators. However, Regional Innovation performance increased between 2011 and 2017 in just two of the regions: Norte and Alentejo, whilst it decreased in the remaining five regions, most significantly in the Algarve.

Portugal has a multi-level Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3), composed of a national and seven regional strategies. Responsibility for overseeing and monitoring the strategies lies with the National Innovation Agency, the Regional Coordination Committees and the two autonomous governments of Madeira and Azores. Coordination between the national and regional strategies is foreseen through a governance structure that brings together the managing authorities of the relevant Operational Programmes and is chaired by National Innovation Agency who also manage a technical secretariat.

JRC activities within the frame of our project are focused on:
Providing technical assistance to the implementation of S3 in Portugal
Assisting regions in the organization of ‘Entrepreneurial Discovery Process’ workshops
Assessing the implementation of S3 in Portugal