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2013. 09. 06.I author: European Association of Development Agencies -

Progress report on the S3 development in the region of Észak-Alföld, Hungary

In accordance with the request of the European Commission towards member states to develop smart specialization strategies for the upcoming financial period of 2014-2020, the Ministry for National Economy – as the entity responsible for EU negotiations – entrusted the National Innovation Office and the Regional Innovation Agencies to develop these strategy documents for county, regional and national levels, following the methodological guidelines of the Joint Research Institute of the European Commission delivered through the S3 platform. In the counties of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, Hajdú-Bihar and Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok, INNOVA Észak-Alföld Regional Innovation Agency began the strategy-development process on 1 February, 2013, and in line with the expectation of the Ministry and the National Innovation Office carried it out by the end April, while building on the since 2012 ongoing county level strategy development processes.

INNOVA invited all the relevant stakeholders of innovation to contribute to the work from it’s analytical phase on, and carried out a wide ranging data-gathering as well, thus collecting the available statistical data on the region (from national and international sources), the former (sectoral, regional, national) development ideas, and the expectations and contributions of the regional stakeholders.


To secure the regional ownership of the developed strategy, the result of the regional analysis has been disseminated and discussed by the main innovation actors of the region during Regional Action Group meetings. Special emphasis has been put on the involvement of SMEs, thus the action groups had representatives from the leading private enterprises, academia, local and county governments. The meetings were organized on county level to ensure a more focused approach, and to fulfill the ministerial request of developing strategies on county level (as well).


However, the vision for the S3 strategy has been specified only on regional level, and underlying specific and horizontal goals are reflecting the county specific developmental lines and expectations.


Vision: Locality and vitality: by 2020 the region of Észak-Alföld will become such a rural environment, which –building on its resources, characteristics and traditional values – is capable of boosting an internationally competitive, sustainable, knowledge based economy

Specific goals:

  1. developing the capacity of innovation
  2. developing the innovative environment
  3. encouraging innovative cooperations


Based on the state of art analysis and the defined vision for the region, the action groups had the task to identify the priorities of the developments to be advocated and realized during the next financial period.


The defined horizontal priorities of the S3 of the region of Észak-Alföld are:

  • Developing the R&I infrastructure of available in the region
  • Securing the human resources of the innovative economy (developing vocational and higher education in line with the market demands)
  • Stimulating the innovation oriented entrepreneurship in the region
  • Raising the quality and the avalability of the innovation-management services
  • Developing social and public services connected to innovative activities
  • Dissemination the innovative approaches
  • Stimulating the national and international networking activities of the innovative actors
  • Supporting the development and realisation of RDI programs
  • Stimulating innovative forms of cooperation


Sectoral priorities of the S3 of the region

  • Based on the natural conditions of the counties of the region, the development of the competitiveness of agriculture (with a focus on vegetable- , fruit production and livestock breeding) to produce products of higher added value as well as to develop energy efficient technologies;
  • Based on the economical and scientific potential of the region, developing premium quality, healthy nutrition products;
  • Developing the health industry - with a special focus on pharmacy, imaging and molecular technology – of Hajdú-Bihar county by utilizing existing innovation potential and creating new research infrastructure;
  • Developing the plastic and rubber industry of Szabolcs-Szatmár and Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok counties, strengthening the R&I base;
  • Developing the mechanical, electrical and automotive industry of the region, helping the territorial embeddedness by utilizing the existing innovation potentials and creating new R&I infrastructure;
  • Based on the natural conditions, raising the level of use of natural and renewable energy sources, developing corresponding research potential.
  • Developing the service sector, based on existing potentials, with a special focus on the health and IT services.


The S3 strategies of the region were and are to be integrated into the operation programs, with the development of which the National Economy Planning Office is entrusted. Thus, although the developed S3 strategies has proposed specific actions, a policy mix to achieve the set goals, the final financial and monitoring mechanisms are yet to be defined!

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