In 2018, the Republic of North Macedonia launched the process of designing its first Smart Specialisation strategy in accordance with the methodology and guidance provided by the Joint Research Centre. From its outset, the process was regarded to be of utmost importance to the future growth of the economy, strengthening competitiveness based on the country’s innovation potential and unleashing smart growth by defining high-priority domains in which new added value would be created. One of the key goals of this venture is to identify and apply smarter and more competitive solutions within the identified priority domains, taking into account new challenges for digital and green transition, as well as challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the quantitative mapping of the country’s economic, innovation and scientific potential, 19 industries have been identified as having potential in terms of Smart Specialisation, and these were grouped into 6 preliminary priority domains. These domains were analysed in-depth in the qualitative mapping phase, which provided the rationale for the final selection of priority domains in North Macedonia and served as a preparatory stage for the stakeholder dialogue within the entrepreneurial discovery process. This report includes the analysis of each preliminary priority area in terms of justification for their selection. The findings in this report are based on the input from more than 100 interviews held with the key stakeholders, subsequent focus group meetings and information obtained from additional external analyses.