We have regarded smart specialisation as a game-changing opportunity for Lithuania. Being a small country, we have developed RIS3 at national level and prioritisation has not been easy. Collectively our mode of thinking had to change from “everything is a priority” to “priority is the creation of new technologies by business and science in the high potential sectors based on R&I capabilities”.
A well institutionalised governance structure that includes the Prime Minister's Office has helped to achieve consensus and identify concrete technologies, resulting in 20 specific priorities within six thematic priority areas. Expert teams in each of the six areas proposed the priority technologies. They were made up of representatives of research, businesses, the non-governmental sector and government. Discussions around prioritisation sometimes brought unexpected but positive results: For example, based on our strong research profile, established businesses in the field and potential for future development, the energy team agreed that solar panels should become a priority technology. At this point representatives from the marine sector, which had not been prioritised by the RIS3, suggested putting solar panels on ships!
Throughout this process there were naturally many different opinions and interests and sometimes even complaints on the table of the Prime Minister, but eventually everything worked out well and it was a great exercise for better and closer collaboration between our stakeholders. The final decisions on RIS3 priorities and the framework of implementation were taken at the highest political level to avoid the risk of diverging interests and questioning of priorities during implementation.