The European Commission's Cohesion Policy aims to reduce differences and ensure a balanced development between regions, and to ensure growth across Europe. Structural Funds are among its main tools. Its efficient use and management has been a crucial factor for many regions in Europe to overcome the economic crisis and strengthen the recovery in a sustainable way. For this reason, over the programming period 2014-2020, developing a Research and Innovation strategy for Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3) has been 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 Smart Specialisation Strategies. These include a focus on identifying niche areas of competitive strength, solving major societal challenges, --bringing in a demand-driven dimension, fostering innovation partnerships emphasising greater coordination between different societal stakeholders and aligning resources and strategies between private and public actors from different governance levels.
Established in 2011 following the Communication from the Commission on 'Regional Policy contributing to smart growth in Europe 2020' (COM(2010) 553 final), the role of the S3 Smart Specialisation Platform is to provide information, methodologies, expertise and advice guidance to national and regional policy makers, as well as to contribute to academic debates around the concept of Smart Specialisation. The role of this Platform has been explicitly acknowledged internally, notably in the Communication from the Commission on "Strengthening Innovation in Europe's Regions: Strategies for resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth" (COM(2017) 376 final), and externally, for instance through a best practice recognition from the European Public Sector Award. The Smart Specialisation Platform is hosted by JRC's Growth and Innovation Directorate (Dir. B) in Seville.
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)
Joint Research Centre RIS3 Support to Lagging Regions Project
The main objective of the JRC RIS3 Support to Lagging Regions project is to provide concrete and specialized support to the implementation of RIS3s in specific low-growth and less developed regions in EU member states. It also seeks to develop a transversal approach to key issues regarding growth and governance in those identified regions.
Learn more about past/current initiatives and the regions we work with: Lagging Regions