Methodological guidelines for qualitative analysis of economic, innovation and scientific potential in the EU enlargement and neighbourhood

Publication article | | RADOVANOVIC Nikola; BOLE Domen

More than a decade ago, European countries and regions adopted a new approach to defining their innovation policies, based on the Smart Specialisation concept. The objective was to define priority areas for further investments and to create a strong structure for developing and maintaining their economic competitiveness. In the late 2010s, most of the economies in the EU enlargement and neighbourhood region decided to undertake the same approach and pursue development of Smart Specialisation processes, they were being guided by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in following the Smart Specialisation methodological framework developed specifically for this region by the European Commission. This framework follows all the stages required by the Smart Specialisation concept, while taking into account the economic particularities of the region, which is characterised by an economic transition.


In the last seven years, following the success of Smart Specialisation implementation among the EU Member States and their regions, a growing number of economies from the EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood region have expressed their commitment to pursue innovation policy development based on the Smart Specialisation approach. To facilitate the process in methodological terms, the JRC proposed a framework describing the specificities of each phase and providing guidance for their implementation, now known as the S3 Framework for the EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Region (S3 Framework). As the qualitative mapping exercise represents one of the most important stages of Smart Specialisation, this report aims at supporting the S3 Framework in order to maximise the benefits and avoid potential issues in the qualitative mapping process. The focus is on providing instructions and advice on how to prepare each step of the qualitative analysis, taking into account the characteristics of the regional context. As the appropriate setup of the qualitative mapping sets the conditions for an efficient stakeholder dialogue in the entrepreneurial discovery process, which represents a Smart Specialisation cornerstone, this report underlines the necessity of systematic involvement of stakeholders in a transparent and fully participatory manner during the qualitative mapping phase.

Tech Report_QA Methodological guidelines_final_13.06.23.pdf
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