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2014. 03. 27.I author: European Association of Development Agencies -

RIS3 in practice: 3 European regions demonstrate how it can be done

On March 20th, the regions of Catalonia (ES), Skåne (SE) and Aquitaine (FR) have shown what "Smart Specialisation Strategies" really means in practice. The regions were invited by the Cabinet of Commissioner Hahn to present their strategies to the Commission, as they are considered as leading lights for other regions on how they can create their smart specialisation strategies.

The success of Catalonia lies in the fruitful partnership between public and private actors. Though Catalonia has first-rate R&D centres and universities as well as a solid industrial tradition, it registered a lack of technology transfer. Consequently, connecting its research and innovation system to the existing business and industrial fabric is identified as the strategic priority in their "RIS3CAT – Research and Innovation Strategy for the Smart Specialisation of Catalonia". The resulting cooperation between companies and research institutes is identified as a driver for the economic transformation of the regional production system. This cooperation should ensure that investments in research and innovation are effectively translated into economic growth and job creation in the region.

In the case of Aquitaine, three main sectors have been identified for the Smart Specialisation Strategy. The agri-food sector is considered the "sleeping giant", a traditional sector of excellence with very little innovation. The aeronautical subcontracting sector is the "hungry dwarf", while the start-ups are considered as the "goblins" that should be better supported. The Smart Specialisation Strategy in the region focuses on boosting innovation by adopting a method based on objectivity, transparency and inclusion. In order to advance on the path of smart specialisation, the Aquitaine region has set out selective rules and permanent mechanisms of supervision and control.

The main aim of the so-called IISS - International Innovation Strategy in Skåne is to become Europe's most innovative region in 2020. To strengthen its innovation capacity, Skåne focuses on the collaboration between universities, researchers and entrepreneurs. The process has identified three areas of innovation: smart materials, personal health, and smart and sustainable cities. The Skåne Research & Innovation Council was established as a long term guarantee of this innovation process. The Council which is not a regulatory body, is the main platform of discussion helping to unleash the big potential of this small region.


RIS3CAT - Research and Innovation Strategy for the Smart Specialisation of Catalonia - presentation by Albert Carné

The International Innovation Strategy in Skåne: Our Take on Regional Smart Specialisation, by  Ms Filippa Arva Olsson

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