The Role of Universities in the context of Smart Specialisation -
The Role of Universities
in the context of
Dr Ruslan Rakhmatullin
DG JRC, IPTS
Smart Specialisation Platform
25-26 September 2014
What is Smart Specialisation? http://ec.europa.eu/research/era/publication_en.cfm
‘Knowledge for Growth’ expert group (DG Research) launched concept in the framework of ERA;
Problem: fragmentation and duplication of public R&D investments;
Stresses role for all regions in the knowledge economy, if they can identify competitive advantages in specific R&I domains/clusters (not just ‘winning’ sectors);
Challenges: Smart specialisation has to embrace the concept of open innovation, not only investment in (basic) research.
What is RIS3?
(National/Regional) Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation that are:
- economic transformation agendas;
These are multi-annual strategies defining a policy-mix and budgetary frameworks focusing on a limited number of priorities to stimulate smart growth.
Thematic ex-ante conditionalities (1)
Ex ante conditionality
Criteria for fulfilment
1.Strengthening research, technological development and innovation (R&D target) (referred to in Article 9(1) )
1.1. Research and innovation:
The existence of a national or regional research and innovation (strategy) (strategic policy framework(s)) for smart specialisation in line with the National Reform Programme, to leverage private research and innovation expenditure, [which complies with the features of well- performing national or regional research and innovation systems.]
For research infrastructures only:
1.2 The existence of a multi-annual plan for budgeting and prioritisation of investments.
–is based on a SWOT analysis to concentrate resources on a limited set of research and innovation priorities;
–outlines measures to stimulate private RTD investment;
–contains a monitoring [and review] system.
A framework outlining available budgetary resources for research and innovation;
A [indicative] multi-annual plan for budgeting and prioritisation of investments linked to EU priorities [and, where appropriate, the] European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures -ESFRI).
S3 Platform Members
153 EU regions
+ 15 EU countries
+ 2 non-EU regions
The S3 Platform was established by the European Commission to provide professional advice to EU countries and regions for the design of their research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3).
Peer Review workshops & trans- national learning
RIS3 assessment and support to REGIO desks
Country- and Macro-region events and targeted seminars at IPTS
Interactive tools, S3 Newsletter and Website
Thematic workshops & working groups
Research and analysis
Benchmarking and targeted support
Extra support for digital agenda and ICT sections of RIS3
RIS3 is a process
Step 1 – Analysis of regional context/potential
Step 2 – Governance
Step 3 – Vision for the future
Step 4 – Selection of priorities
Step 5 – Policy mix
Step 6 – Monitoring and evaluation
The RIS3 Guide
The latest version is available from the S3 Platform website:
PART I: THE POLICY CONTEXT
PART II: THE RATIONALE
PART III: RIS3 DESIGN IN A NUTSHELL
Annex I – A step-by-step approach to RIS3 design
Annex II – Delivery instruments and horizontal approaches
Annex III – Guidance for expert assessment
Step 1 – Analysis of national/regional context and potential for innovation (I)
A broader definition of innovation, not just RTD- oriented;
Assess existing national/regional assets;
Identify national/regional competitive advantage(s);
Detect emerging niches for smart specialisation;
Combine methods (e.g. national/regional profiling, SWOT approach, surveys);
Step 1 – Analysis of national/regional context – looking out – and potential for innovation (II)
Assess country’s/region’s positioning within the EU
Keep in mind global companies and value chains
Flows of knowledge and skills
Avoid ‘blind’ duplication, discover possibilities for collaboration
Combine methods (e.g. studies, interviews, interregional work groups)
Step 1 – Analysis of regional context and potential for innovation (III)
Different types of actors
Spirit of the entrepreneurial environment
Involvement of entrepreneurial actors in the regional economy
Firms, but also Universities, Technology Centers, Venture Capitalists, Regional Development Agencies..
Identify economic differentiation potential
consultation with firms, clusters; technological audits; foresight studies
Analysis of entrepreneurial dynamics and identification of future opportunities:
Step 2 – Governance: Ensuring participation and ownership
Include the demand-side perspective Quadruple Helix;
Boundary spanning individuals and organisations;
Dedicated Steering Group/ Knowledge Leadership Group, Management Team, Working groups;
Wider engagement of stakeholders:
Step 3 – Developing an overall vision of the region’s future
Formulate different scenarios based on analyses and debate where your region wants to go;
Produce a positive tension towards the future;
Guarantee long-term engagement of stakeholders;
Shared vision of the region’s potential and main directions for its international positioning:
Step 4 – Identification of priorities
Focus on a limited number of areas with potential for smart specialisation as emerged from entrepreneurial discovery;
Areas where the region hopes to excel;
Pay attention to horizontal priorities (Key Enabling Technologies, social innovation, etc.);
Avoid capture by interest groups
Decision-making step where top-down meets bottom-up:
Step 5 – Definition of a coherent policy mix, roadmaps and action plan
Roadmap will include:
Action plan target groups, objectives, timeframes, indicators, sources of funding and budget allocations
Pilot projects experiment with unprecedented policy mixes, obtain inputs for updating RIS3 strategies
Organising and detailing rules and tools:
Step 6 – Integration of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms
Monitoring to verify the correct and efficient implementation of activities;
Evaluation to verify whether and how strategic goals are met;
Importance of ex ante setting of measurable targets and output/outcome indicators;
Mechanisms integrated in the strategy:
In a nutshell: Smart Specialisation is based on 4 Cs
Competitive advantage: match R&I with business and develop links (related variety); adoption of (generic/new) technologies for diversification/modernisation of sectors + explore emerging areas
Policy Choices (tough ones): select a limited number of priorities based on specialisation & integration in international value chains
Critical mass of resources & talent: cooperation between regions by avoiding duplication and fragmentation
Collaborative Leadership: involve stakeholders from academia, businesses, public administrations and civil society (i.e. quadruple helix) & synergies between funding instruments (EU, national, regional)
Quadruple Helix and Smart Specialisation
•- Engaging a wide range of actors has long been fundamental to Cohesion Policy since these different actors have skills and knowledge that is potentially able to support both planning and implementation.
•- The RIS3 Guide recognises the significance of and the need for the Quadruple Helix approach by proposing to add a fourth group (civil society as innovation users) to a classical Triple Helix model.
•- This Quadruple Helix model puts innovation users at its heart and encourages the development of innovations that are pertinent for users (civil society). Users or citizens here own and drive the innovation processes.
•- Civil society and the public are users and appliers of knowledge and are thereby thought to contribute with a region-specific context and experiences.
•- In line with this perspective, new innovative products, services and solutions are developed with the involvement of users in their role as lead users, co- developers and co-creators.
Quadruple helix and Smart Specialisation (II)
•- Citizens would be involved in the development work, and would also have the power to propose new types of innovations, which then connect users with their stakeholders across industry, academia or government (Arnkil et al. 2010).
•- In turn, the role of actors in the other three helices would be supporting citizens in such innovation activities (e.g. to provide tools, information, development forums and skills needed by users in their innovation activities).
•- This user-centred approach requires a further development of collective management and implementation of the RIS3 process.
•- RIS3 strategies should not only target science and technology (S&T) innovation but should also foster innovation in non-S&T fields (i.e. social, public sector and service innovation). It should also ensure a more effective and complementary use of EU investments in the regions and help channel private capital into regional smart specialisation niches.
An Agenda for Modernisation of Europe’s Higher Education System (COM (2011) 567)
•‘In assessing the role of HEIs in the region it is useful to identify the steps needed to create a ‘connected region’ in which the institutions are key players. Through this connection process institutions become key partners for regional authorities in formulating and implementing their smart specialisation strategies’
•‘They can contribute to a region’s assessment of its knowledge assets, capabilities and competencies, including those embedded in the institution’s own departments as well as local businesses, with a view to identifying the most promising areas of specialisation for the region, but also the weaknesses that hamper innovation’
How to use entrepreneurial discovery process towards more synergies
Detect potential boundary-spanners between different stakeholder / interest groups, new innovative entrepreneurs, hidden champions, or persons with a potential for this and with an international outlook.
Horizon2020: related actors should be involved in the creative strategy development process.
See new annex III of RIS3 Guide: http://s3platform.jrc.ec.europa.eu/s3pguide
manufacturing and services, primary sectors, financial sector, creative industries, social sector, large firms, SMEs,
young entrepreneurs, students with business ideas, cluster and business organisations,
Research public and private research bodies, universities, science and technology parks, NCPs, Technology transfer offices, Horizon2020 committee members, regional ESFRI roadmaps etc.
Different departments, if relevant at different government levels, agencies e.g. for regional development, business advice, public procurement offices, incubators, etc. Public administration
NGOs and citizens’ initiatives related to societal challenges for which innovative solutions would be helpful, consumers associations,
Civil society / Users
-Spirit: (risk-taking, demand and supply side, view beyond boundaries, creativity …)
Why should universities care about smart specialisation?
•Universities are a vital partner for regions in the process of design and implementation of smart specialisation strategies
•Increasing concern about social and economic impact of publicly funded universities
•Large amount of European Structural and Investment Funds linked to smart specialisation
•Universities can benefit from structural funds, but only if they understand and address the needs of the region
•Synergies between support for R&I through the structural funds and European / national competitive financing will determine the overall funding structure
•Opportunity to build partnerships with local and regional authorities for mutual benefit
Contribution of universities to S3
Source: Based on Kempton et al (2013) Universities and Smart Specialisation, JRC S3 Policy Brief #3, European Commission
Generative Research related (but not limited) to regional priorities Multi- and cross- disciplinary Connectivity – knowledge nodes Support regional analysis
Collaborative Neutral regional brokers Reach Out – need 'boundary spanners Reach In – Co-production of knowledge
Help build capacity to ensure local firms absorb knowledge
Provide demand through teaching and learning activities
Nurture social ties that drive RIS
Leadership Support regional vision and partnership Propose joint activities Place marketing
Further S3P Publications to consider (I)
Report on joint EUA- REGIO/JRC Smart Specialisation Platform expert workshop: 'The role of universities in Smart Specialisation Strategies' (2014), link
Joint statement EUA and DG JRC after the High level Conference in Brussels June 2014, link
Booklet with case studies prepared for the Conference in June (based on expression of interest): 'University-Regional Partnerships: case studies (2014): Mobilising Universities for Smart Specialisation', Edited by John Edwards, Fatime Barbara Hegyi and Susana Elena-Pérez (2014), link
Further S3P Publications to consider (II)
General information on High level Conference joint organised by EUA and S3 Platform (Brussels, June 2014), link
Louise Kempton, John Goddard, John Edwards, Fatime Barbara Hegyi and Susana Elena-Pérez (2013), 'Universities and Smart Specialisation', S3 Policy Brief Series, No. 03/2013, link
The latest report on the Danube macro-region: Ales Gnamus, Fatime Barbara Hegyi and Susana Elena Perez (2014), 'Developing Danube R&I Projects across Borders – How to Make the Joint Use of EU-Funds a Reality?', S3 Policy Brief Series, No. 10/2014, link
A launching event of the Stairway to Excellence Project (S2E)
•The 'Stairway to Excellence' European Pilot Project is centred on providing assistance to countries that joined the European Union since 2004 with the aim of closing the innovation gap, promoting excellence in all regions and EU countries; Stimulating the early and effective implementation of national and regional Smart Specialisation Strategies.
•The principal objectives of this conference are:
•To launch the project and explain its rationale, objectives and roadmap.
•To raise awareness of the actions needed to enable synergies between different EU funding programmes for research and innovation
•To share experiences in combining Structural Funds and Framework Programme to improve excellence in R&I systems
•Draw lessons for the future
•Date: 2-3 October 2014
•Venue: Prague, Czech Republic
•Info & Registration: http://s3platform.jrc.ec.europa.eu/launching-conference