Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Smart Specialisation: How to make it work for the Key Enabling Technologies at the Example of Microelectronics

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Joining forces with the regions for a strong industrial base in the European Member States
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A key success factor for the implementation of the Industrial strategic Roadmap for the electronic components and systems in Europe is our capacity to align and combine efforts at regional, national and EU level in the field of research, development, innovation and investment in technological facilities. This is a core component of the strategy proposed in May 2013 by VP Kroes in order to double the value of production of semiconductors  in Europe and is confirmed in the roadmap established for that purpose by the Electronics Leaders Group in February this year.

Alignment of strategies and efforts is vital to create critical mass, achieve excellence, attract private investment and strengthen competitiveness.  It is easier said than done though.  Regions and Member States have different industrial and economic structures and all strive and compete for excellence. The challenge is therefore to identify and focus on complementarities while allowing positive and healthy competition for excellence. The experience in the JTIs, ENIAC and ARTEMIS in FP7, showed that it is indeed feasible and that the effort deployed in order  to make it happen is definitely worth it. In the last two years, by working together in the JTIs,  we were able to pool around 350 M€ from the EU and more than 400 M€ from the MSs (including regions) to support large scale pilot lines and demonstrators that drew more than 1.2 B€ of investment in R&D&I from the private sector.

The interesting feature is that we have seen partnerships developing in these actions along the value chain across Europe. Whereas large scale demonstrators and pilot lines were concentrated in specific regions, their development and exploitation requires cooperation between organisations spread throughout Europe.

It is one example of how we can achieve combination of funding and alignment of strategies while ensuring competition and complementarity. We know that it is just a first step though and that we can do more. Smart specialisation is exactly about doing more. It is about focusing at regional level on the areas of strengths to build world level excellence and cooperation with other regions and clusters of excellence to complete the skills along the value chain. The guidelines issued by the Commission to facilitate the combination of EU support in H2020 with support from the Structural Fund (ESIF) should enable the further development of such specialisation and cooperation.

The competence centre based initiatives that we have started in FP7 in areas like ICT for manufacturing bring us another means to combine funds and ensure cooperation and specialisation. We will be supporting more of this in H2020 starting with the areas of 'smart everything everywhere' in 2014-15.

Connecting our EU level actions in R&D&I in the  KET areas  with regional and national initiatives is essential to achieve high impact. We hope that the workshop, Smart Specialisation: How to make it work for the Key Enabling Tecnologies at the Example of Microelctronics, in Villach on 27-28 of May will give us additional ideas and insights on how to make it happen and is an opportunity for stakeholders to network and build partnerships and alliances.

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