During the KEEN-Regions project life the Smart Specialization concept has been repeatedly associated to the project activities. In fact the Smart Specialization has been widely utilized in the identification and setting up of the KEEN-Regions Joint Action Plan actions. For example one of the Smart Specialization ideas considers the clusters as the venue for entrepreneurial discovery process.

What is smart specialisation?

Smart specialisation is an important policy rationale and concept for innovation policy developed rather recently by the K4G expert group. It promotes efficient, effective and synergetic use of public investments and supports countries and regions in strengthening their innovation capacity, while focusing scarce human and financial resources in a few globally competitive areas in order to boost economic growth and prosperity. It concentrates resources on the most promising areas of comparative advantage.

Three are the key challenges for R&D policies have been identified:

  • Fragmentation of efforts and resources for R&D at national and regional level;
  • Duplication of few frontier technology research fields in many European regions;
  • Substantial divergences between “leader” and “follower” regions.

As remarked by the European Commission, “Smart specialization needs to exploit regional diversity, stimulate cooperation across national and regional borders and open up new opportunities, by avoiding fragmentation and ensuring that knowledge flow more freely across the EU”.

The S³Platform has been established with the purpose of assisting regions and Member States to develop, implement and review regional smart specialisation strategies.

The platform aims at supporting the process, in each region, towards the identification of the high-value added activities which offer the best chances to strengthen its competitiveness and the policy-portfolio that should be put into place to achieve this goal, including the governance set-up, stakeholder involvement and practices to draft their smart specialisation strategies.

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