Transnational cooperation and value chains Transnational cooperation and value chains

The importance of the global economy and innovation networks calls for a regional innovation policy that goes beyond regional and national borders. Cooperation in S3 involves sharing knowledge, pursuing collaboration and exploiting synergies with S3 initiatives in other countries and regions. Transnational cooperation is a key component of smart specialisation strategies. Cooperation with others and an outward-looking perspective help monitor the competitive position of the country/region with regard to others and to identify its position within global value chains. Among the many reasons why policy makers should open up their smart specialisation strategies for transnational cooperation there are:

- Gaining from access to wider business and knowledge networks

- Getting necessary research capacity

- Reaching out other markets

- Expanding business opportunities

- Combining complementary strengths

- Joining global value chains.

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How to benefit from transnational cooperation in S3?

Challenge

The importance of the global economy and innovation networks calls for a regional innovation policy that goes beyond regional and national borders. Cooperation in S3 involves sharing knowledge, pursuing collaboration and exploiting synergies with S3 initiatives in other countries and regions.

Response

Forms of transnational collaboration that align R&I goals and priorities into a joint cross-border smart specialisation strategy are a major example of inter-regional cooperation. In this way, regional authorities would expect to (i) make better use of the different funding frameworks, in particular regional operational programmes and cross-border cooperation funding, (ii) to be more competitive in R&I excellence frameworks such as Horizon 2020 or the Era-net.

The joint strategic process between Galicia (ES) and Norte (PT) began in 2014 with the creation of the cross-border Work Group (Technical Secretariat) made up of representatives from the Galician Innovation Agency (GAIN) and the Northern Portuguese Regional Coordination and Development Commission. They set up the governance for the development of a joint strategy and carried out an analysis which identified the main areas for collaboration between the two entities. At the end of this strategic exercise, a shared vision for the future was reached that includes alignment of R&I goals and the proposal of joint priorities, actions for support, as well as an evaluation system with indicators to follow up implementation. The joint S3 aims at reaching greater levels of critical mass based on innovation synergies and complementarities at the value chain level, given the increasing combination of knowledge and production capabilities needed in innovative processes.

More information

See the joint cross-border smart specialisation strategy document (in English)

Keywords

Transnational cooperation, vision, priorities, value chains

Challenge

The importance of the global economy and innovation networks calls for a regional innovation policy that goes beyond regional and national borders. Cooperation in S3 involves sharing knowledge, pursuing collaboration and exploiting synergies with S3 initiatives in other countries and regions.

Response

There are different ways to open operational programme to international partners in order to strengthen S3 priority areas when creating transnational linkages.

The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) opened an ERDF financed cross-clustering scheme to strengthen regional and national efforts developing new knowledge and competencies. The purpose is (i) to stimulate cross-border collaboration between regions and countries, and (ii) to support S3 projects based on Swedish prioritised areas of strength for their further development and renewal. The call for pre-studies was launched for inter-regional cluster collaboration projects. In the next stage the most promising 5-8 collaboration projects involving international partners will be granted a up to 1 million euro support during a three year period in order to develop and renew the Swedish areas of strength.

More information

See the Tillvaxtverket project webpage (in Swedish and in English)

Keywords

Transnational cooperation, priorities, operational programmes

Challenge

The importance of the global economy and innovation networks calls for a regional innovation policy that goes beyond regional and national borders. Cooperation in S3 involves sharing knowledge, pursuing collaboration and exploiting synergies with S3 initiatives in other countries and regions.

Response

Transnational learning helps to improve competitiveness of lagging regions for instance via access to new knowledge and creation of linkages with international partners for joint activities in the areas of common interest.

In 2015 the Nord-Est region in Romania and the Northern Netherlands Provinces (NL) embarked upon a process of collaboration based on the S3 agenda, with the view to gearing a common development programme, based on a synergic smart and transnational specialisation strategy. The main aim of the strategic cooperation is to enable a bottom-up, innovative cooperation set-up to address societal challenges. The North East region in Romania is one of the poorest regions of the EU. Collaboration with the Northern Netherlands Province enables transfer of good practices and helps the Romanian region to enhance its administrative capacity. The early dialogue and the mutual learning between representatives of the two regions - RDAs, R&I actors, local authorities - was facilitated by the use of the Peer2Peer facility for technical assistance managed by DG REGIO. The collaboration not only facilitated learning and exchange of experiences but also allowed to identify the areas for joint collaborative activities. The Agro-food sector was selected by the regional stakeholders to launch concrete joint projects.

More information

See the North-East Regional Development Agency of Romania webpage (in English)

Keywords

Transnational cooperation, peer learning, societal challenges

Challenge

The importance of the global economy and innovation networks calls for a regional innovation policy that goes beyond regional and national borders. Cooperation in S3 involves sharing knowledge, pursuing collaboration and exploiting synergies with S3 initiatives in other countries and regions.

Response

Transnational learning is very important in the S3 design phase. Peer reviews, benchmarking and other collaborative methods allow coming up with applicable policy recommendations and country specific S3 solutions. Subsequently, these collaborations have the potential to translate into successful partnerships favouring S3 implementation.

The development of a S3 strategy of Wielkopolska (PL) was supported by experience-sharing with other European regions while participating in two INTERREG IVC projects - SCINNOPOLI and Know Hub. In the latter project, Wielkopolska together with other partners developing S3 had an opportunity (i) to share required knowledge on key elements of S3, regional entrepreneurial discovery processes, (ii) to project policy measures, (ii) to get advice from through peer reviews sharing experiences with other regions on the path towards innovation success. In the SCINNOPOLI project, both the intensive interregional exchange and scanning the impact of regional innovation systems reinforced the development of the Wielkopolska's S3 in the realm of monitoring methodologies, evaluation and impact assessment. Participation in these projects provided Wielekopolska institutions with relevant partner contacts. Furthermore, it helped building the necessary competence to continue the interregional collaboration at the implementation stage and led to a new INTERREG Europe project – ESSPO (Efficient Support Services Portfolio for SME's) which focuses on improving specialized intermediary services for SME's in the scope of S3. This collaboration project implements one of actions envisaged in Wielkopolska S3.

More information

See the INTERREG IVC projects webpage (in English)

See the SCINNOPOLI project webpage (in English)

Keywords

Transnational cooperation, peer learning, monitoring, INTERREG

How can macro-regional collaborations help align S3 across regions?

Challenge

The importance of the global economy and innovation networks calls for a regional innovation policy that goes beyond regional and national borders. Cooperation in S3 involves sharing knowledge, pursuing collaboration and exploiting synergies with S3 initiatives in other countries and regions.

Response

Macro-regional collaborations are good instruments to mobilise competences and align S3s, as well as to create strategic platforms for developing joint S3 projects tackling common challenges.

The BSR Stars is a transnational programme and policy collaboration among 10 countries (DK, EE, FI, DE, LV, LT, NO, IS, PL, SE) that aims at strengthening the competitiveness and economic growth in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). This is to be achieved by fostering transnational linkages between specialised research and innovation nodes, leading to strategic innovation alliances to tackle common “grand challenges”, such as health, energy, sustainable transports and digital business and services.

One of the recent initiatives in the flagship – BSR Stars S3 is the INTERREG Baltic Sea Region project which fosters a transnational approach towards S3 implementation. Partners (DK, FI, LT, NO, SE) will develop integrated innovation support infrastructures such as test and demonstration facilities and new innovation management tools to leverage complementary competences stemming from their S3. The project focuses on bio and circular economy as a cross-sectoral priority field of S3 in the BSR.

More information

See the BSR Stars project webpage (in English)

See the INTERREG Baltic Sea Region project webpage (in English)

Keywords

Transnational cooperation, priorities, societal challenges

Challenge

The usage of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to support transnational collaboration and participation in macro-regional frameworks is often underexploited. Arrangements such as giving additional points to the applications of macro-regional relevance could be more widely promoted.

Response

EU ESIF regulation is supporting transnational strengthening of innovation systems and stipulates a possibility to spend of up to 15% of the support from the ERDF (Article 70(2)) outside the programme area (in other EU countries). This would be desirable, although the idea of contributing to transnational collaboration may not be shared by all Managing Authorities, especially in countries where the budgets of national and regional ESIF programmes are limited.

To foster Lithuania's participation in the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), Lithuania has foreseen in the Partnership Agreement and the ESIF operational programme the possibility to spend part of the funds outside the programme area in order to set up a project selection criterion which gives priority to projects contributing to the EUSBSR at the level of operational programme’s measures, opening up the possibility to launch joint calls for projects of the EUSBSR relevance upon the need. Financing the projects outside the programme area is also established in the legal acts ruling the management of the operational programme. Moreover, it is foreseen that an additional funding could be allocated to ongoing projects (2014-2020) which (i) implement new activities contributing to the objectives of the EUSBSR, and (ii) are implemented together with international partners.

More information

See the document 'Embedding of the EUSBSR into the ESIF programmes: approach in Lithuania' (in English)

Keywords

Transnational cooperation, priorities, operational programmes

Transnational S3 instruments for growth

Challenge

The importance of the global economy and innovation networks calls for a regional innovation policy that goes beyond regional and national borders. Cooperation in S3 involves sharing knowledge, pursuing collaboration and exploiting synergies with S3 initiatives in other countries and regions. Regions desire to leverage their own strengths in link with other regions' innovation capacity in view of benefiting from diversity and complementarity.

Response

There are European instruments available which can help to improve existing policy structures and facilitate interregional collaboration in S3 and co- specialisation approach. INTERREG Europe S34Growth project gathered 11 partners from 8 Member States with the aim to develop and improve existing regional policy instruments to facilitate interregional collaboration, which in turn will support the renewal of Europe’s industry and competitiveness. The project focuses on industrial innovation related to interregional collaboration. The project will engage regional authorities, as well as businesses, universities and other regional innovation actors in innovative policy learning, exchange of experience and co- creation activities. S34Growth activities build on an innovative methodology (learn, connect, demonstrate, commercialise) identified within the Vanguard Initiative, which consists of regional stakeholders learning from each other, connecting organisations and activities, and moving on to demonstration projects with the ultimate goal of improving commercialisation and product & service development processes. The main anticipated result of the S34Growth project is development of transnational and inter-regional collaboration instruments addressing the co-specialisation approach and to be easily replicated for any domain and anywhere in Europe.

More information

See the S34Growth project webpage (in English)

See the INTERREG Europe webpage (in English)

Keywords

Transnational cooperation, INTERREG

Challenge

The importance of the global economy and innovation networks calls for a regional innovation policy that goes beyond regional and national borders. Cooperation in S3 involves sharing knowledge, pursuing collaboration and exploiting synergies with S3 initiatives in other countries and regions.

Response

Regional authorities can play a role in co-creating and developing European industrial value chains based on smart specialisation priorities bringing together stakeholders of regional eco-systems to identifying opportunities for matching of national and regional cluster organisations in identified value chains of smart specialisation areas and launching pilot projects.

The smart specialisation Vanguard Initiative seeks to lead by example in developing interregional cooperation and multi-level governance for supporting clusters and regional eco-systems to focus on smart specialisations in a number of priority areas for transforming and emerging industries. These regions wish to build the synergies and complementarities in smart specialisation strategies to boost world-class clusters and cluster networks, in particular through pilots and large scale demonstrators. These investments will bolster the competitive capacity of Europe to lead in new industries for the future and develop lead-markets that offer solutions for our common challenges. The sectors covered by the Vanguard Initiative are: Advanced Manufacturing for Energy Related Applications in Harsh Environments, High Performance Production with 3D Printing Efficient and Sustainable Manufacturing Bio-based Economy and Nanotechnology. The Vanguard Initiative builds on the Milan declaration.

More information

See the Vanguard Initiative webpage (in English)

See the Milan declaration of the vanguard Initiative (in English)

Keywords

Transnational cooperation, value chains
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