A boost to green and digital recovery with regional Smart Specialisation

News article |

Today the EU’s pilot initiative “Smart Specialisation Strategies for Sustainability (S4)” was launched in Seville by the President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), Apostolos Tzitzikostas and the Director for Growth and Innovation of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission, Mikel Landabaso.

The initiative represents a voluntary update to the Smart Specialisation Strategies, with a stronger focus on Sustainability. The JRC and CoR will cooperate on the piloting of S4 methodology in more than ten regions in Europe.

The other two topics discussed during the meeting were environmental norms for industry, also known as the Sevilla process, and its potential for supporting the decarbonisation of European industry, and Cities and localisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

JRC and CoR discussed how cities and local authorities can be better supported in their quest towards recovery and sustainability, including the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), Apostolos Tzitzikostas and the Director for Growth and Innovation of the JRC, Mikel Landabaso, met in Seville for the launch of the S4 initiative. ©Europa Press


The JRC and CoR agreed to cooperate in providing local governments with knowledge and tangible methods to  achieve the global goals, and in embedding local ownership of sustainability challenges and solutions.

Another topic on the table was the Sevilla Process. During the past 20 years, the JRC in Seville has developed and led a unique process for the co-creation of environmental norms towards a cleaner European industry.

Made up of fact-based discussions in long and intense stakeholders meetings with Member States, industry, and environmental NGOs, the so-called Sevilla Process has contributed to the reduction of emissions and increased resource efficiency from over 52.000 large industrial installations across Europe.

This methodology is also used in other policy areas (product policy, waste, EU Taxonomy) and now, the JRC is discussing the possible use of this approach to assess the most promising breakthrough technologies for decarbonisation of energy-intensive industries.

The JRC Smart Specialisation platform is one of the main policy tools for achieving Priority A. “No one left behind, evidence-based policymaking in the Regions” in the Joint Action Plan CoR – JRC. S4 builds on the Smart Specialisation framework prepared with regions in 2012.

As emphasised in a joint workshop JRC – CoR held in April this year, Smart Specialisation will have a major role over the programming period 2021-2027, as a tool supporting research and innovation of all regions in Europe, and it will serve as a pivotal vehicle for recovery towards the new green and digital economy.