The S3 requires implementing concrete policy measures and project selection in the priority areas. There are different ways to accomplish it that should reflect the administrative level involved (national, regional).
In Sweden, the programme called “VINNVÄXT – Regional Growth through Dynamic Innovation Systems” funds large and comprehensive initiatives in the regions throughout the country. Projects are selected through a competition process (calls for proposals) where the best proposals get a 10-year period funding. Through this programme, a limited number of “growth initiatives” focusing on regional strengths receive up to 1 million euros per year to which is added a minimum of 50% regional co-funding. These Triple Helix initiatives gather businesses, researchers and public sector organisations, and aim at transforming the regional productive fabric within a long-term framework.
The implementation of the smart specialisation approach in the region of Flanders (BE) takes place mainly through the support of “spearhead clusters”. They are officially recognized by the Flemish government according to their capacity to organise an emerging cluster or transform an existing one with societal and economic value-added for the region. Under its New Industrial Policy (NIP), Flanders set up a comprehensive instrument, the Transformation and Innovation Acceleration Fund (TINA). The instrument’s purpose is to reinforce and accelerate the marketing of innovation with strategic potential. It provides capital investment to projects proposed by groups of firms and it finances grand projects within the spearhead areas. In addition, the NIP employs a wide range of existing policies and programmes with a strategic focus on their transformative potential. Pilot exercises are also implemented to determine “policy mixes” for specific spearhead clusters: a policy learning exercise was launched in November 2013 - April 2014 to experiment with three specific transformation trajectories: 3D-printing, recycling of critical metals in vehicles, renewable chemicals based on algae. The aim of the exercise was learning what kind of “whole-of-government” policies are needed and what type of governmental organisation will be required to partner in the implementation of these new value chains.
The Regional Council of Satakunta (FI) was in charge of the preparation of the regional smart specialisation strategy. To that end, strategic regional platforms were established around selected priorities. These platforms set reference criteria for actions and project development within smart specialisation areas. Local regional developers are called to pick up one of the chosen themes and then build an articulated project. For instance, Prizztech Ltd, a not-for-profit business development company owned by municipalities in Satakunta region, under the theme “bio-economy” developed the initiative “Gas economy” focusing on building (a) bio-power plants for waste water treatment plant, (b) biogas production plants in rural areas, (c) biogas filling stations for road traffic. When a new action is planned, the following set of requirements must be addressed by the developers/initiators:
Is a new idea linked to the S3?
Is it possible to find linkages between this domain and the one of the regional smart specialisation platforms?
Is there already program-level activity linked to this idea/domain?
Are there other projects which this idea can benefit from?
See the VINNVÄXT webpage (in English)
See the Flanders’ webpage (in English)
The Stakunta's Prizztech Ltd webpage (in English)
Project selection, priorities, public sector role