The regulatory framework around smart specialisation strategies (RIS3) needs to be reformed to increase synergies between the European Structural and Investment Funds and regional innovation and development policies, as well as to encourage interregional cooperation and the creation of value chains across European regions, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) argues in an opinion adopted today.
The assembly of Europe's local and regional representatives recommends better coordination in the design, drafting, implementation, monitoring and follow-up of smart specialisation strategies, involving all relevant stakeholders at national, regional and local level. To increase synergies between regional innovation and development policies and financial instruments, the management of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) should be simplified and made more flexible to allow efficient application of funds to smart specialisation.
Markku Markkula , President of the European Committee of the Regions, stressed the importance of smart specialisation as an instrument for economic transformation and the renewal of Europe: ''Every region and city in Europe needs to have more strategic partnerships so they can make the most of the latest knowledge and technology. A lot of work has already been done to improve the take-up and implementation of smart specialisation strategies. However, we need to get more out of RIS3 by orchestrating existing projects and processes better. Co-creation should become a guiding principle for EU financing instruments and project evaluations. This will require a more entrepreneurial mind-set and smarter tools to support bottom-up movements."
Smart specialisation provides a path for innovation-driven differentiation and economic transformation, building on local assets and comparative strengths. Having a research and innovation strategy for smart specialisation (RIS3) is a prerequisite to receiving funding from the European Regional Development Fund. The European Commission has launched a public consultation which will feed into a new communication on smart specialisation in May. This will be followed by a Smart Regions conference in Helsinki on 1–2 June.