Smart specialisation

The rhetoric around S3 (smart specialisation strategies) and its role in innovation has its origins in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research, and their concern to strengthen investment in research and innovation. Through collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and academic scholars, the new policy framework focuses on processes, within regions, for increasing research and development activity, reducing fragmented initiatives, and promoting the ongoing development and robustness of regional innovation systems.

S3 offers a much more comprehensive perspective on innovation than the more typical focus on firms, clusters and linkages with Research and Development (R&D) centres. The process seeks to connect placebased innovation with the evolving pattern of transnational economic activity. (Veldhuizen et al 2018: 4)

Working paper

A Report to The European Commission, Directorate General JRC, JRC Seville
31 Dec 2018

The ‘Smart specialization’ (SS) project of the European Union is both an innovative project and an ongoing experiment on industrial and innovation policy, probably the biggest such experiment globally. This approach makes it possible to rediscover mechanisms that have been extremely successful creating wealth in...


20 May 2018

This review presents a description and analysis of literature regarding Smart Specialisation (S3) in Europe, as well as making observations about its application in other parts of the world, including Australia. It is one of the ‘foundation’ documents prepared to inform the commencement of the...


23 Nov 2016

This report draws on the experiences of comparable cities in Europe and the United States of America to guide the transformation of the Geelong economy. While focusing on Geelong, the project underscores the need for greater policy and planning attention to be given to second...


26 Apr 2016

The Deal or No Deal? report highlights that Australia’s small cities are strong performers economically, but if we look under the bonnet there are some essential ingredients that enable small cities to succeed and grow consistently over time. These include:

• high rates of...


16 Mar 2016

Australia's first Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) is an integral part of RDA Hunter’s economic development agenda to advance the region’s innovation network and grow the Hunter’s international competitiveness. Smart specialisation is an OECD framework implemented widely across the European Union to deliver regional economic transformation...


11 Dec 2013

This OECD report bridges the gap between theory and implementation through case studies that illustrate the conditions in which the concept of smart specialisation can be used to design better public policies for boosting innovation driven growth in OECD regions. It emphasises the need for...


RIS3 Guide
15 May 2012

How do European policy makers design, draft and implement national/regional research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation?



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