The Northern Netherlands’s Smart Specialisation Strategy or RIS3 is characteristic as the current strategy already relates sustainable development and smart specialisation. The Northern Netherlands RIS3 is linked to the SDG2, SDG3, SDG6 and SDG7, however the RIS3 has more horizontal links with SDG4, SDG8,SDG9, SDG13 and SDG15
In contrast to more traditional strategies which focus on priority areas, or even sectors, the Northern Netherlands have expressed the objectives of the strategy in terms of societal challenges - four (European) challenges for which the region has the capabilities to contribute to the solutions: Healthy and secure supply of food, Sustainable use of energy, Clean water and Good health.
The choice of the challenges are linked to the regional strengths identified in the design phase of the strategy. An important implication of the choice for challenges, and also an important rationale behind the decision, is that the strategy is inclusive. No one is excluded in advance. Actually everyone is invited to contribute and participate. A second important implication is that the challenges give a dynamic character to the strategy. They are a starting point, they form the “crash barriers” for a continuous process of entrepreneurial discovery, that is fostered within the region and eventually can be subject to refinement.
Northern Netherlands are preparing the new programming period 2021-2027. The first consultations and interactions with stakeholders have taken place. There appears to be consensus among stakeholders that the logic and reasoning behind the current RIS3 are still valid and the choice for challenges a smart choice.
It is expected that in the new Smart Specialisation Strategy explicitly links with the UN’s SDGs. At the moment the region is in the process of analysing the accuracy of current challenges, the rationales of choices and the necessary adjustments. There is a common understanding that taking the challenges a step further, by expressing challenges into missions and organizing the implementation of the strategy around the mission, might be a way forward, a way to increase the effectiveness of the strategy.
In addition of the regional strategies in the Netherlands, the national government intends to combine the current ' Top sector policy' with a mission oriented approach. For the implementation of the strategy public-private "knowledge and innovation agendas" (KIAs) will be created. The agendas will be the result of a process involving regions also to ensure that alignment is taking place.