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EU Science Hub

I. Smart Specialisation

1. Smart Specialisation Platform (S3P) services

Type of service

The S3 Platform1 assists EU countries and regions to develop, implement and review their research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3). Established in 2011, the role of the S3 Platform is to provide information, methodologies, expertise , peer-reviews and advice to national and regional policy makers, as well as promote mutual learning, trans-national co-operation and contribute to academic debates around the concept of smart specialisation. Support includes technical assistance (e.g. linking regions), training, joint reports, analysis, study visits/mutual learning, modelling, use of interactive platforms, etc.

2. Higher Education for Smart Specialisation (HESS)

Type of service

Targeted support to regional authorities on how to engage their local Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the process of design and implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3).

3. Smart Specialisation Platform (S3P) Peer Review Activities

Type of service

To support the design and implementation of research and innovation strategies for Smart Specialisation (S3), the S3 platform of the Joint Research Centre is developing methodological and benchmarking tools to facilitate the S3 processes in regions and member states. One of the methodological supports provided is the S3 peer reviews developed by the platform.
'Peer review' implies that an action of an individual person is looked at by an entity of similar competence. Applied to S3 processes it means that the design and implementation activities of S3 of regional and national governments is looked at by peers, which are other entities being responsible for the same activity. It entails a process of self-regulation by involving qualified individuals or qualified representatives of given authorities within the relevant field. The methodology has been designed to maintain standards, to improve performance and to provide credibility, thus the S3 platform has been organizing the peer reviews to facilitate trans-regional or transnational learning, to discover good practices in relation to challenges regions are facing and to overcome these challenges by understanding the institutional context.
The developed methodology requires a community of experts in a given (and often narrowly defined) field, who are qualified and able to perform impartial review. Throughout the experiences of the S3 platform, the peer reviews organised have achieved to create an atmosphere that promoted an open and dynamic dialogue to the region or member state having been peer reviewed.

In the implementation phase, the methodology has been adjusted to the needs of regional and national authorities implementing S3 strategies. The new format is called Peer eXchange & Learning (PXL) that builds on the well-established peer-review approach of the S3 Platform. It supports transnational learning by bringing together regions and countries for knowledge and experience exchange, and the exploration of ways in which innovation and development strategies can be effectively implemented, adjusted and revised.

4. Organisational development for Smart Specialisation

Type of service

This activity supports organisational development in the public sector in EU enlargement and neighbourhood countries. It aims to improve the evidence base of innovation policies, thus contributing to develop smart, sustainable and inclusive economies with clear priorities. Mutual learning and targeted trainings build critical capacities in these countries for effective economic policies that improve local well-being.

5. RIS3 support for lagging regions

Type of service

The primary aim of this initiative is to support the implementation of the Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3) in nine lagging regions in eight EU member states. In so doing, it also aims to:

  • improve understanding of slow and limited growth in EU regions and links to macro-economic framework conditions, taking RIS3 as an entry point;
  • develop and disseminate lessons and a tool box for other EU regions; and
  • contribute to advancing relevant theory on (implementation of) smart specialisation by codifying hands-on experiences.

This project has built on experience gained in supporting the refinement and implementation of the RIS3 in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (Greece).

6. JRC Support to Member States’ Stairway to Excellence

Type of service

The provision of assistance to regions and countries in order to close the innovation gap and promote excellence in all regions and EU countries. This can be through cross-cutting analysis or specific focused events.

7. Smart Specialisation Thematic Platform for Industrial Modernisation

Type of service

The European Commission supports the modernisation of Europe's Industry in order to ensure the EU's global competitiveness. This objective is supported by a number of EC's Directorates-General (DGs), including JRC, through a focused alignment of their multi-level policies. One of the driving forces behind the joint initiative of the S3P–Industry is to foster synergies and complementarities between diverse funding sources with the objective to accelerate the development of joint investment projects supported by possible synergies between European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME), Horizon 2020 and other funding sources.

8. Smart Specialisation Platform on Agri-Food

Type of service

The Smart Specialisation Platform for Agri-Food (S3P Agri-Food) aims to accelerate the development of joint investment projects linked to agriculture and food at EU level. S3P Agri-Food encourages and supports interregional cooperation in thematic areas based on smart specialisation priorities defined by regional and national governments. Through this thematic platform, EU regions and member states are able to implement more efficiently their smart specialisation strategies, and regional stakeholders benefit from the new cooperation opportunities with partners from other regions.

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