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Priority setting in RIS3


Written by Christian Saublens

Reviewed by David Walburn

 

The concept

How to implement it?

Step in the RIS process

What can be expected?

A quote

References

Expert's comments

 

The concept


The RIS3 process is about the selection of investment priorities according to regional or place-based competitive and comparative advantages.

The issue is of course on which criteria to make the selection. Based on the review of several RIS3 documents it appears that regional stakeholders have developed their own views and list of criteria. Hereafter a few examples of those. Some are just what everyone is expecting while others are more out of the box.

The classical way of setting priorities is of course to look for sectors. In that case the criteria can be:

  • Critical mass in terms of enterprises, research capacity and employment;
  • Current innovation dynamics expressed on funding received from national schemes;
  • Differentiating characters of the product/service range;
  • Potential benefits for the regional economy;
  • Internationalization;
  • Position in the global value chain of the different sectors;
  • Cooperation at cross-sectoral value chain level;
  • Leverage effect of the public intervention;
  • Strengths for the commercialization of results by the research teams;
  • Capacity to response to global challenges.

Other criteria can be defined to develop an approach by objective (horizontal measures) instead of sectors. In this case criteria have been chosen, such as

  • Contribution to the modernization of traditional industries;
  • Innovation related to societal challenges;
  • Use of KETs as contribution to the improvement of the competitiveness;
  • Support to user-driven approach.

 

How to implement it?


By collecting as many data as possible from public available sources, as well as from views from stakeholders involved in the governance process which will lead to the design of the RIS3. Public authorities have to be very objective and show political courage in making choices, in order to be able to differentiate the best business opportunities from the conservative interest and proposals of traditional lobby groups.

 

Step in the RIS process


Step 4: selection of a limited number of priorities for regional development

 

What can be expected?


A focus on real unique comparative advantage and opportunities to become leader in market niches. A well thought set of criteria will avoid to identify usual buzz sectors for which all regions pretend to have competitive advantage.

 

A quote


“… The (first of the) four Cs of Smart Specialisation is about (making) tough Choices and (creating) Critial mass, a limited number of priorities on the basis of own strengths and international specialization...” by Mikel LANDABASO of the European Commission’s DG Regional Policy.

 

References


 

 

Mr Christian Saublens


 

Christian Saublens has more than 30 years of working experience in European trade organizations. Since 1992 he is the Executive Manager of EURADA, the European Association of Development Agencies, a network of 145 organisations. Christian has been involved in the organization of numerous conferences and meetings dealing with all matters related to regional development. He wrote several papers and working documents on business support schemes for SMEs. He played an important role for the dissemination in European regions of concepts such as benchmarking, business angels, investment readiness, proof of concept, clusters, open innovation, financial engineering, crowdfunding, … Several times Christian has been appointed as an expert by the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions.

christian.saublens@eurada.org

 

Expert's comments


This paper sets out a clear and common sense approach to setting priorities for public policy interventions for RIS3.

There is one particular sentence which is worthy of special note. The author makes the point that clear and common sense approach to analysis – a “well thought set of criteria” – will avoid the “usual buzz sectors for which all regions pretend to have competitive advantage”.

Fashions in economic development often stand in the way of creating realistic strategies and programmes.  There was a time when nano technologies were considered to be critical for future economic growth which suggested that all regions had to have a nano technology strategy centred around their universities, however inappropriate. When clusters found their way into economic development speak, the concept had somehow to be included in regional strategies. Politicians are often a problem in this regard, perhaps hearing about the latest craze at a conference and then driving it through the policy-making process.

Economic developers need to beware and to follow the advice set out in the paper.

 

Mr David Walburn


 

After a career in business David Walburn joined Greater London Enterprise in 1986 where he was responsible for venture capital and other small business support, before becoming Chief Executive of the organisation. He was the Chair of the London Business Angels Network and played a key role in the setting up of the European Business Angels Network. He has worked with the UK government and the European Commission on developing public policy initiatives to improve the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises. He was the Chair of Capital Enterprise, the umbrella body for organisations supporting micro business development in London, until 2012.

For the last ten years he has been a Visiting Professor at London South Bank University where he headed the Local Economy Policy Unit and was the managing editor of the journal Local Economy.

He has served as President of EURADA, and been a member of a number of advisory bodies of the European Commission.  He has been an active member of the International Economic Development Council in Washington DC and has a wide range of international contacts with economic development organisations.

He continues to write and lecture on small business finance and regional economic development.

davidwalburn@europe.com

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