The approved S3 is a solid policy guidance document which includes an analysis of the context of the regional assets and the economic, scientific and technological specialisations; identification of the policy priorities; action plan to pursue the set priorities; and description of the monitoring system and of the chosen set of indicators.
The Strategy stresses that the main regional strength is a diffused manufacturing system characterised by a high export propensity. The research system can count on some strengths but overall it suffers from low R&D intensity, both in the public and in the private spheres. Fostering the integration between the research and production sectors is the opportunity that must be pursued to support growth and to foster qualified human capital.
Marche performs relatively well in terms of availability of human capital, considering for instance the number of graduates in scientific and technological disciplines. However, the region struggles to absorb these graduates.
Other notable weaknesses include the small average size of firms, exposure to increasing global competition, the international crisis, the credit crunch and the rationing of public resources in general. All of these factors hinder knowledge transfer and technology diffusion in the region's production system. They pose a threat for the future competitiveness of the region which will also be increasingly threathened by global challenges such as energy security, climate change and demographic change.
In the light of these issues, the main message of the Strategy is that the regional industrial system should evolve from its current “labour-intensive” structure towards a knowledge and innovation based system. In order to achieve this, the policy aims at facilitating the interaction between production, science and technology, as well as the development of networks and collaborations between firms.
Moreover, four cross-sector strategic areas of interventions are identified, based on the results of the analysis and of the participatory debate which took place on the territory. They are house automation, mechatronics, sustainable manufacturing, and health and well-being.
These strategic areas take into account the region's scientific and technological strengths, the existing economic and commercial specialisations, and the global technological and market opportunities. The strategy also identifies ten policy priorities and details an action plan on how to pursue them. The priorities are the following: boosting collaborative research and innovation involving firms, universities and research centres; providing innovative solution to address local community challenges; the creation of new innovative firms, both academic and industrial spinoffs; fostering engineering and industrialisation of research results; promoting an upgrade of the production system in relation to management and organisational quality, internationalisation, marketing, and design capacity; valorising “made in Italy” value chains and facilitating cross-sectoral fertilisation; developing ICT infrastructure and promoting the use of new advanced services; supporting projects aiming at facilitating the access of networks of firms to cleaner and less expensive energy sources; systemic actions for internationalisation; and finally, initiatives in agriculture and in the agrofood sector aiming to achieve sustainable competitiveness and addressing the Europe 2020 challenge of food security. The final version of the S3 is currently under revision.