The role of Industry in Smart Specialisation Strategies 7/4/2014
DG ENTR organised an event on 7th April with the main business organisations in Brussels to discuss the role and involvement of industry in smart specialisation strategies developed by regions. The objective was to present the opportunities granted by regional development policies and to motivate industry to get involved in those regions' strategy design
Regions with experience in private sector involvement in their policies, cluster managers and industry provided their insight on private sector involvement in regional policies.
In its Communication of 22 January 2014 "For a European Industrial Renaissance", the Commission highlighted the central role of industry to sustain the incipient economic recovery and boost competitiveness and job creation. Industry must have the conditions to grow, modernize and transform so that it is fit for the 21st century.
One of the key pillars to support this agenda is the newly established regional policy of smart specialisation. The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) have earmarked around EUR 110 billion to finance investment in research and innovation, ICT, SME competitiveness and low-carbon economy. These funds can now be combined with Horizon 2020 funding and other EU instruments to obtain more synergies.
Smart specialisation strategies are based on a thorough analysis of existing regional assets and potential opportunities for innovation and growth. Strong partnerships between businesses, clusters, public authorities and knowledge institutions are recognised as essential for success.
The role of firms in contributing to smart specialisation strategies is particularly important. Firms need to contribute to the design of smart specialisation development strategy by helping identify gaps in the necessary value chains in their regions and areas or activity and point to the regulatory actions needed for market development. EU funding could be combined in order to address some of these gaps.
To identify new opportunities, businesses in regions will have to look for opportunities cross regions, cross border but also cross sector. As mentioned in its Communication "For a European Industrial Renaissance", the European Commission is setting up some instruments to facilitate such cooperation in smart specialisation.
“Innovation funding opportunities in Smart Specialisation” – Marek Przeor – DG REGIO
“La Stratégie de Spécialisation Intelligente” – Didier Dareys – Conseil régional d'Aquitaine
“Collaboration of businesses, academia and public administration for smart specialization” - Claus Zeppelzauer – Ecoplus Austria
"Regional Policies and Innovation Opportunities" - Ludo Diels - U-Antwerp, Vito
"Flanders - State of the Art" - Karel Tobback - Head of Cabinet of the Minister President of the Flanders region