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Cohesion Policy and Smart Specialisation Strategies

Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3 or S3) set priorities at national and regional level to build competitive advantage by developing and matching research and innovation own strengths with business needs, to address emerging opportunities and market developments in a coherent manner, while avoiding duplication and fragmentation of efforts. They are also a backbone of national or regional research and innovation strategic policy frameworks in Europe.

In 2014–2020 Cohesion Policy will guide the investment of over EUR 450 billion (including national co-financing) to help achieve the EU-wide goals of growth and jobs and reduce economic and social disparities. It is the biggest investment instrument at EU level for pursuing the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. Investments will be concentrated on 4 key priorities with EUR 125 billion allocated to these areas:

- Innovation and research,

- The digital agenda,

- Support for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs),

- The low-carbon economy.

A community continuously growing

Since 2011, the Smart Specialisation Platform (S3 Platform) acts as a facilitator for regions and countries in the uptake and incorporation of the smart specialisation concept and methodology in their research and innovation strategies. By mid-2018, 18 EU Member States and 175 EU regions, as well as 5 non-EU countries and 15 non-EU regions have registered to the S3 Platform, and the community is continuously growing. 

Any country and region wishing to pursue or get more information about the S3 approach may refer to the following guidance materials:

- RIS3 Guide (2012)

- FAQs on RIS3

- S3 Assessment Wheel

- Peer Review cases