The Role of Smart Specialisation in the EU Research & Innovation Policy Landscape
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This paper explores the role of regional policy in strengthening the EU’s research and innovation (R&I) policy paradigm with a particular focus on smart specialisation. Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3) play a major role in stimulating R&I at the regional level in less-developed EU regions and Member States. It can also play an important role in the industrial transition of other regions. Given such an impact, as well as the mobilisation of public and private actors at the regional level, there is now an urgent need to consider what has been achieved and what remains to be done in the future. We will do this in the context of the overall EU R&I policy and will focus on five themes. First, we outline the different principles and types of innovation policies and position regional policy in that context. Second, we re-evaluate the raison d’etre and novelty of smart specialisation. Third, we address its achievements to date. Fourth, we discuss the challenges of RIS3 design and implementation. Lastly, we suggest how regional and R&I policies might be better integrated.