EU Science Hub

Smart Specialisation in Portugal

Dec 11 2020
online event

Co-organised by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Alentejo (CCDR Alentejo), Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) in Portugal is an online event that aims to bring together policy-makers, entrepreneurs, academia, and citizens to contribute to the debate on how to improve the governance and “Entrepreneurial Discovery Process” of Smart Specialisation Strategy in Portugal.

Given the importance of good governance of S3, the event focuses on the following questions:

  • What is the contribution of Smart Specialisation to territorial cohesion?
  • Has the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) been effectively implemented in Portugal?
  • What kind of governance and monitoring activities have been carried out in Portugal?
  • What role do higher education institutions have in the implementation of S3 in Portugal?
  • How can S3 managers build a closer relationship with higher education institutions?
  • How Smart Specialisation can contribute to the achievement of the European Green Deal?


Registrations are now open.

The online event is open to the public, but registration is mandatory and places are limited. Some panels are in Portuguese and others in English. There is no simultaneous translation.
For additional information of the event, please visit the dedicated website.

Smart Specialisation Strategy

Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) is a place-based policy approach aiming to concentrate knowledge and innovation resources in a limited number of (new and existing) domains, where the territories have a competitive advantage.

The design and implementation of S3 should not rely on traditional centralised policy making but, instead be combined with a bottom up Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP). This means engaging all relevant stakeholders to identify knowledge “domains” and economic activities with the potential to become drivers of socio-economic structural change.

The definition of a national and/or regional S3 is an ‘ex-ante conditionality’ for the allocation of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to Research and Innovation (R&I) projects under the Cohesion Policy regulations for the 2014-2020 programming period. For the period 2021-2027, a good governance of S3 becomes an ‘enabling condition’ for the ERDF.

Therefore, after reviewing the implementation of Smart Specialisation in Portugal, lessons can be drawn on how to increase the benefits of this policy approach. Participants from all sectors are invited to participate in the debate after each presentation.

This kind of exercise is particularly useful to prepare regions for future challenges, particularly the European Green Deal, the EU’s new growth policy, focusing the twin green and digital transitions. The improvement of interaction between actors involved in the regional innovation eco-system (quadruple helix), together with a continuous monitoring and evaluation system are key elements of a successful strategy.

What is the entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP) about?

Some of the key features that have been pointed out by leading scholars and policy makers dealing with innovation policies to define what EDP is about are:

  • The EDP is an inclusive and interactive bottom-up process in which participants from different environments (policy, business, academia, etc) are discovering and producing information about potential new activities, identifying potential opportunities that emerge through this interaction, while policymakers assess outcomes and ways to facilitate the realisation of this potential.
  • The EDP pursues the integration of entrepreneurial knowledge fragmented and distributed over many sites and organisations, companies, universities, clients and users, specialised suppliers (some of these entities being located outside of the region) through the building of connections and partnerships.
  • The EDP consists of the exploration and opening up of a new domain of opportunities (technological and market), potentially rich in numerous innovations that emerge as feasible and attractive.

More information