The European Commission's Cohesion Policy aims to reduce differences between regions and to ensure growth across Europe. Structural Funds are among its main tools. Its efficient use and management is a crucial factor for many regions in Europe to overcome the economic crisis. For this reason, to develop a Research and Innovation strategy for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) is currently a prerequisite in order to receive funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The Smart Specialisation Platform (S³P) assists Member States and regions to develop, implement and review their RIS³ strategies. These include a focus on identifying niche areas of competitive strength, solving major societal challenges --bringing in a demand-driven dimension, innovation partnerships emphasizing greater co-ordination between different societal stakeholders and aligning resources and strategies between private and public actors of different governance levels.
Established in 2011 following the Communication 'Regional Policy contributing to smart growth in Europe 2020', the role of the S³ Platform is to provide information, methodologies, expertise and advice to national and regional policy makers, as well as contribute to academic debates around the concept of smart specialisation. The S³P is hosted by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) in Seville, part of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.
Synergies between Cohesion Policy and research and innovation funds: the Stairway to Excellence project (S2E)
The Stairway to Excellence (S2E) project aims to enhance the value of two key European Union funding sources for research, development and innovation - the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and Horizon 2020 (H2020) - by promoting their use in combination with one another. More information: Stairway to Excellence (S2E)