Smart Specialisation is a strategic approach to economic development through targeted support to research and innovation (R&I). Each region, whether it be strong or weak, high-tech or low-tech, goes through a transformative process which involves:
- Developing a vision for growth
- Identifying its competitive advantage
- Setting strategic priorities
- Making use of smart policies and actions.
In England Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) will be developed at a national level but will be informed locally by LEP ESIF strategies; a draft English S3 was presented for peer view at an event in Riga in February 2014. A European platform has been established to support with the development of S3. More detailed information on S3 and its implementation is available in a European Commission Report
A strategy for Smart Specialisation should be designed around the following key principles:
- A place-based approach that builds on the assets and resources available and specific socio-economic challenges in order to identify unique opportunities for development and growth.
- A limited number of well-identified priorities for knowledge-based investments and/or clusters should be supported. Specialisation means focusing on competitive strengths and realistic growth potentials supported by a critical mass of activity and entrepreneurial resources.
- Priorities should not be a top-down, but rather an inclusive process of stakeholders’ involvement centred on “entrepreneurial discovery”, that is an interactive process in which market forces and the private sector are discovering and producing information about new activities, and the government assesses the outcomes and empowers those actors most capable of realizing this potential.
- It should embrace a broad view of innovation, supporting technological as well as practice-based and social innovation, allowing each region and Member State to shape policy choices according to their unique socio-economic conditions.
- A good strategy must include a sound monitoring and evaluation system as well as a revision mechanism for updating the strategic choices.
A series of S3 Events have taken place over the last 2 years and these provide an overview of S3.