Smart Specialisation represents a unique opportunity in contemporary innovation policy for territorial development. Over the last few years, the Smart Specialisation approach has fostered the design and the implementation of place-based, innovation-driven economic transformation agendas in the regions and Member States of the European Union, which overall have developed more than 120 Smart Specialisation Strategies, with more than 67 billion euros available under the European Structural and Investment Funds (2014-2020 programming period). These strategies involve national and/or regional public authorities, together with private businesses, higher education institutions and the civil society in collaborative and mutually reinforcing processes.
Over the European programming period (2021-2027), Smart Specialisation is expected to continue to play a major role towards cohesion policy and regional development, and towards economic transformation in the long run. In particular, given its strong value-added potential, Smart Specialisation can boost innovation-led growth in the EU industrial transition regions and further integrate regional economies in European value chains. It also has a great potential to play to foster eco-innovation processes that respond to global environmental challenges, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.