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News article15 March 2017

Smart specialisation makes headway in Latin America

The new JRC report on "Innovation and Regional Specialisation in Latin America" analyses how smart specialisation is implemented in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. The study also suggests collaboration between smart...

Pictire from the cover of the report - American textile designs
© taboga -

The new JRC report on "

Innovation and Regional Specialisation in Latin America
(2.19 MB - PDF)

" analyseshow smart specialisation is implemented in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. The study also suggests collaboration between smart specialisation initiatives in these countries, which together represent a population of over 460 million inhabitants, with EU regions.

The Smart Specialisation concept, currently implemented by EU's member states and regions with the help of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), is being considered by several countries in Latin-America. The added value demonstrated in Europe's regions serves as a good example to partners of other countries to deploy regional innovation from own resources, capabilities and competencies. Moreover, the adoption of the smart specialisation concept also opens avenues for further cooperation in transnational dynamics.

The conducted research analyses current developments and practices regarding innovation ecosystems, policies, legislation and budget which are taking place in Latin American regions as they define their strategies of specialisation. Some findings included in the report are:

  • Chile is progressing towards a decentralisation system of innovation policies. Designing strategic financing plans to assure implementation of regional programs is fundamental.
  • In Brazil, horizontal coordination between states could allow important synergies in the definition of specialisation strategies and support states which are lagging behind.
  • Colombia and Peru emphasised aspects related to the public resources designated to the innovation programs, the consolidation of governance systems and the definition of the regional specialisation priorities.
  • Mexico headed to increase efforts in the coordination between the national level of the policy definition and the local and state initiatives of specialisation.
  • Argentina focused on incorporating peripheral provinces within the central scope to identify innovation potentialities at sub-national scale.

The study was presented at the event organised by the JRC in its headquarters in Brussels on 15th March. The event counted on the positive perception and feedback of representatives of managing authorities for research, innovation, science and education of about 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries as well as practitioners of smart specialisation in EU.

Apart from presenting the main findings of the abovementioned study, the event served as an opportunity to establish active synergies between stakeholders of smart specialisation in the European Union and Latin America. The event was organised on the occasion of the Senior Officials Meeting (JIRI SOM), EU-CELAC Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation, held in Brussels the day before.

Social Networks: #S3BeyondEU


Most EU Member States and regions have now completed the process of designing a smart specialisation, according to a legal pre-condition or ex-ante conditionality for using the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for innovation spending in the new period (2014–2020). Accordingly, national and regional authorities are expected to be more entrepreneurial and become active part of the regional innovation system itself. In a globalised economy, the development of competitive research and innovation activities means that policy makers should aim to be more outward looking, positioning their country or region in global value chains and exploring cooperation opportunities.

The S3 approach requires looking beyond the national/regional administrative boundaries. A country or region should envisage identifying its competitive advantages through systematic comparisons with other countries/regions, mapping the national and international context searching for examples to learn from, or to mark a difference with, and performing effective benchmarking. Moreover, each country/region should envisage identifying relevant linkages and flows of goods, services and knowledge revealing possible patterns of integration with partner regions. This is essential both for developed and less developed countries/regions which may often require to acquire know-how and technology and learn from others countries/regions

Related Content


Innovation and Regional Specialisation in Latin America
(2.19 MB - PDF)

Smart Specialisation in Latin America event page


Publication date
15 March 2017