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Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3) of Kriti

Policy Document
Περιφερειακή Στρατηγική Έξυπνης Εξειδίκευσης για την Περιφέρεια Κρήτης
The development planning of the programming period 2014-2020 is heavily based on the national and regional Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). Since RIS3s constitute integrated and region specific economic agendas that have been produced based on the methodology of entrepreneurial discovery in order to ensure the involvement of all interested stakeholders, they focus policy support and investments on key regional strengths, priorities, challenges and needs, creating thus regional competitive advantages and potential for excellence, they support innovation and attract private investments and they ensure correct and timely monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
Regarding the design of the new programming period for the region of Kriti in particular, it aims to address effectively the regional weaknesses, including the discontinuities in the production process, and to enhance the strengths of the regional economy. The main objective is to create the required conditions for the reorientation of the local economy, the exit from the crisis and the integration into a path of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The implementation of regional Smart Specialisation Strategy will be applied on selected areas where the region has a strong comparative advantage and on other emerging sectors that appear to have potential based on the entrepreneurial discovery process. The two traditional pillars of the regional economy are food processing and tourism, while areas such as energy, environment and cluster of knowledge constitute emerging sectors, which are supported by the prestigious research and academic institutions in Kriti.
The aim of the strategy therefore is to create four integrated production complexes by strengthening links between sectors and to upgrade technologies used in the production processes of the regional economy specialisation areas. Central focus has been given in the strengthening of clusters and the strengthening of links between the following development priorities:
  • Reorganisation of the agri-food cluster with adaptation to climate change, enhancing the value of the Cretan diet and strengthening export activities;
  • Promotion of cultural-tourism cluster as a leader worldwide;
  • Development of new future activities such as training-research complex (with services to be addressed and with local companies involved in innovative educational services) and the environmental cluster (energy saving, smart water management, renewable energy, water etc.); and
  • Strengthening of technological activities and applications to selected clusters.
In order to meet the above priorites, certain indicative actions are proposed:
  • Strengthening research, technological development and innovation;

    • Applied research programs in the priority areas of RIS of Kriti;
    • Equipment - infrastructure that support the delivery of innovative business services to the priority areas of RIS of Kriti;
    • Support for businesses to develop innovative products and / or practices by using vouchers;
    • Rewarding undergraduate and postgraduate students and researchers to contribute to the promotion of innovation activities;
    • Rewarding innovative enterprises;
    • Strengthening first production - pilot applications; and
    • Support of clusters, networks and other collaborative business structures, innovators and knowledge creation in the context of the Smart Specialisation Strategy .
  • Improving access to, use and quality of information and communication technologies; and
    • Stimulating businesses to introduce digital applications and overall utilisation of information technologies by using vouchers;
    • Development of integrated digital services for companies in the priority areas of RIS of Kriti;
    • Support agencies and organizations to use their digital services for serving citizens;
    • Supporting agencies and organisations to implement digital services / products that support the priority areas of RIS of Kriti in the areas of culture / tourism; and
    • Development of integrated digital services / products for e-government in culture and tourism. 
  • Improving the competitiveness of SMEs.
    • Helping new businesses to invest in the priority areas of RIS of Kriti;
    • Creation of Regional Seed Capital;
    • Integrated support for startups (specialised services - provision of first installation space - function);
    • Actions for Cretan companies for high value-added investments;
    • Actions for business certification, standardisation of products and general production processes and their trafficking; and
    • Actions for business support and investigation / study of new targeted markets.
Regarding the governance system of the regional research and innovation strategy, it combines existing regional structures with new ones in order to strengthen the involvement of key partners while avoiding complexity and bureaucracy. The governance structure includes two levels:
  1. Policy Making level: Policy development and decision-making
  2. Executional level: Documentation, monitoring and coordination of the policy implementation


  1. Policy Making Level
This level includes the administrative bodies of the region that are responsible for policy development on research and innovation and for decision making / validation in these areas. These are the Regional Governor and the Regional Council. The Regional Scientific Research and Innovation Council (RSRIC) of Kriti offers counselling assist to the aforementioned bodies.
The RSRIC was established according to the provisions of L.4310/2014 by decision of the Regional Governor of Kriti in order to provide support to the Region and the General Secretariat For Research and Technology (GSRT) for the implementation of the National Strategy for Research, Technological Development and Innovation (NSRTDI) and its counterpart at a regional level. It consists of seven (7) members, three of whom are professors or researchers, representatives of public research institutions of the region and the remaining members come from local authorities, productive institutions and the entrepreneurial world. Support is provided by recommendations to the Regional Governor and the GSRT for encouraging and supporting the development of RTDI in the region, the creation of regional clusters of research organisations, technological institutions, enterprises, other actors and regional authorities, aiming at promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, encouraging the development of PPPs and creating conditions and opportunities for the successful participation of regional organisations in national and European research projects.
  1. Executional Level
This level includes the monitoring of the implementation of RIS of Kriti and the coordination of the entrepreneurial discovery procedure in the four innovation platforms. In particular, it includes the following procedure:
  • Coordination body for the monitoring of RIS of Kriti
    The coordinating body’s main responsibility is to monitor the implementation of RIS of Kriti. In addition, the coordinating body provides for the following actions:

    • Specification of the actions of RIS of Kriti;
    • Information sharing / cooperation with RSRIC through reports / recommendations;
    • Provision of support to institutions involved in the governance of RIS of Kriti at policy making level and are responsible for planning and documentation issues;
    • Submission of recommendations and proposals for any revisions of RIS of Kriti;
    • Collection of required documentation data for the actions;
    • Monitoring and data provision to the indicators system;
    • Cooperation with the Intermediate Managing Authority of Kriti and with national points of Horizon 2020;
    • Cooperation with GSRT;
    • Participation in national and international smart specialization networks; and
    • Coordination of the four thematic innovation platforms and establishment of a common working methodology.
The aforementioned body is supported by four innovation platforms, one per sectoral RIS priority, which promote the entrepreneurial discovery procedure under a common methodology. The innovation platforms may be based in other institutions that are not related to the Region and have the expertise and the will to undertake the responsibility for the coordination of the platforms. The role of the Platform Coordinator is crucial for the successful development of the entrepreneurial discovery procedure in each priority sector. The innovation platforms collaborate and mobilise their knowledge actors, entrepreneurs, collaborative schemes, banks etc. In addition, they submit recommendations / proposals to the Coordinator of RIS in an effort to promote the successfully advancement of the specialisation procedure. Moreover, they submit proposals for the redefinition of directions and priorities. They act together with thematic networks and the Nnational innovation platforms. The independent office and the four platforms may be supported by experts  in the context of Technical Assistance ROP of Kriti 2014-2020 .
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