Southern Regional Assembly RSES LowRes

Smart Specialisation Smart Specialisation brings together key stakeholders to identify the competitive advantages of an area with the view of developing economic opportunities. It is part of EU cohesion policy. Smart Specialisation brings a broad range of stakeholders - local communities, national enterprise bodies, higher education institutions and private enterprises - into the Region’s innovation policy process. These stakeholders undertake an Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) to identify economic opportunities within their geographic area and evaluate how best to utilise these opportunities, particularly in sectors with the best potential. This process harnesses collective knowledge from local and national bodies to ensure the most effective distribution of research and innovation funds while moving away from a “one size fits all” development policy. Smart Specialisation focuses on boosting productivity, regaining lost competitiveness, increasing export intensity and diversity of markets. It focuses on measures to improve our attractiveness as a location for national and foreign investment, and increasing entrepreneurial activity. Smart Specialisation requires strengthening enterprise engagement with academic research. This approach can only work if choices are based on real knowledge of local potential and involves a bottom up approach through established structures such as the Regional Enterprise Plans (REPs) and Local Enterprise Community Plans (LECPs). Our enterprise agencies constantly encourage companies to be innovative, transformative and to expand to other areas of global business. R&D plays a vital role in this process. Whilst Smart Specialisation is primarily concerned with regional competitiveness, it is important to recognise that in order to achieve the ambition of an inclusive, resilient and sustainable region we must ensure citizen wellbeing is the core. Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is a European Commission crosscutting theme built around the concept that innovation should deliver measurable benefit for society. The EC advocates that the RRI principles are embedded in Smart Specialisation Strategies to facilitate the core RRI objective of ensuring research outcomes are progressively aligned with societal values. RRI promotes an anticipatory, reflective, inclusive and responsive approach to innovation, supported throughout the RSES by recognising the value of engaging citizens and decision-makers with science and innovation to address regional and societal challenges.

Good Practice Example: Extremadura, Spain Extremadura, a rural community in Spain, embraced the policy of Smart Specialisation with a Local Action Group for rural development that created a new governance model based on the participation of government, third level institutes and the local community. Their Smart Specialisation process identified two important aspects of the regional economy. Firstly, it identified a local competitive advantage - a cheese product called “La Torta del Casar” considered an economic catalyst for the local area. Secondly, it identified a weakness in this product’s production system, a weak capacity of local farmers and shepherds to incorporate knowledge-based innovation in their work. The process supported the Local Action Group to design solutions to this weakness, leading to the creation of the Farmers School and the Shepherding School to provide valuable partners and training sources for farmers and shepherds in the use of information and communications technology and other technological advances in the field. The results so far show promising advances in the areas of reinforced innovation at local level and support for a more rounded perspective on rural development. Good Practice Example: Danish Food Cluster On the back of an already world-leading food and agriculture sector, the Danish Food Cluster was established in 2014 to take advantage of the opportunity to embrace the global food challenge brought about by increasing populations worldwide and the rapid growth in the number of middle-class consumers. Through a managed programme of clustering activities, it is creating a pipeline for new products, technology, business models and talent and finding new solutions to provide value to industry to achieve its ambition of being the number one country for food innovation. The Danish Food Cluster stands out for its culture of collaborative innovation. Primary producers work together to produce the very best raw materials for food production. An example is the Danish Transport Standard, established in 2010, to keep livestock free from disease. Research and innovation is a cornerstone of Denmark’s position as a leading food nation and a vision for world-class innovation has been set for 2030.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


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