Smart specialisation is a new innovation policy concept designed to promote the efficient and effective use of public investment in research. Its goal is to boost regional innovation in order to achieve economic growth and prosperity, by enabling regions to focus on their strengths. Smart specialisation understands that spreading investment too thinly across several frontier technology fields risks limiting the impact in any one area.
A smart specialisation strategy needs to be built on a sound analysis of regional assets and technology. It should also include an analysis of potential partners in other regions and avoid unnecessary duplication. Smart specialisation needs to be based on a strong partnership between businesses, public entities and knowledge institutions – such partnerships are recognised as essential for success.
To push forward the smart specialisation concept, the Commission announced the setting up of the S³Platform in a 2010 Communication entitled 'Regional Policy contributing to smart growth in Europe 2020'. This platform aims to assist regions and Member States in developing, implementing and reviewing regional smart specialisation strategies, and help regions identify high-value added activities which offer the best chances of strengthening their competitiveness.