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Knowledge category: Synergetic local policy plans

Smart Specialisation Strategy

Updated on 07.10.2022

The Smart Specialisation Strategy platform provides advice to EU countries and regions for the design and implementation of their Smart Specialisation Strategy. The platform has a place-based approach identifying strategic areas for intervention based on the analysis of the strengths and potential of the economy, and on an Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) with wide stakeholder involvement.

Author: European Commission
Year of adoption/publication: 2011

More information

A strategy for smart specialisation should be designed around the following key principles:

  • Smart specialisation is a place-based approach, meaning that it builds on the assets and resources available to regions and Member States and on their specific socio-economic challenges to identify unique opportunities for development and growth.
  • To have a strategy means to make choices for investment. Member States and regions ought to support only a limited number of well-identified priorities for knowledge-based investments and/or clusters. Specialisation means focusing on competitive strengths and realistic growth potentials supported by a critical mass of activity and entrepreneurial resources.
  • Setting priorities should not be a top-down, picking-the-winner process. It should be an inclusive process of stakeholders’ involvement centred on 'entrepreneurial discovery', which is an interactive process in which market forces and the private sector are discovering and producing information about new activities, and the government assesses the outcomes and empowers those actors most capable of realising this potential.
  • The strategy should embrace a broad view of innovation, supporting technological as well as practice-based and social innovation. This would allow each region and Member State to shape policy choices according to their unique socio-economic conditions.
  • Finally, a good strategy must include a sound monitoring and evaluation system as well as a revision mechanism for updating the strategic choices.
  • To provide advice to EU countries and regions for the design and implementation of their Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3), the European Commission launched the EU Smart Specialisation Platform (S3 Platform). Registration on the S3 Platform is open to regional and national administrations of EU, candidate and neighbouring countries and to any other non-EU, third country national or regional administration that wishes to be involved and participate in the S3 Platform.

Interoperability with Circular Systemic Solutions and Circular Economy Action Plans

Smart specialisation was conceived within the reformed Cohesion policy of the European Commission. Overall, it is very possible to integrate measures that support the development and implementation of relevant Circular Systemic Solutions, contributing to circular economy transition.

Example templates/guidelines