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The role of universities in Smart Specialisation


The role of universities in Smart Specialisation John Edwards JRC IPTS - S3 Platform Berlin, 27 November 2013 * Smart = - evidence-based: SWOT analysis & foresight ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The role of universities in Smart Specialisation

The role of universities in Smart Specialisation
  • John Edwards
  • JRC IPTS - S3 Platform
  • Berlin, 27 November 2013

Context of 2014-2020 funding cycle
  • Europe's challenges
  • Lack of economic growth following economic and
    financial crisis
  • Increasing imbalances across the continent (and
    within many countries)
  • High social costs of austerity and declining
    public confidence
  • Increased competition from other parts of the

Context of 2014-2020 funding cycle
  • Europe's responses
  • Sound public finances
  • Structural reforms restoring competitiveness
    (e.g. more flexible labour markets, completing of
    the single market)
  • Smart consolidation protect pro-growth budgets
  • Innovation to compete globally and tackle social
    and environmental challenges (Europe 2020)

Investment in RD is part of the solutionto exit
from the economic crises
Is there a link between innovation and regional
growth? The general consensusis that the
driving force behind long-term economic growth is
science, technology and innovation in its
different forms and facets (OECD 2011 Regions
and Innovation Policy)
Source Mikel Navarro et al, Basque
Competitiveness Institute 2010. "Until the 1980s,
technology and innovation were under recognised
influences in the explanation of differences in
the rates of economic growth between regions in
advanced industrial nations..." (Townroe)
Innovation Union for Europe
  • One of seven flagship initiatives of Europe 2020
  • Aim is to create the best conditions
    ('ecosystem') for researchers and entrepreneurs
    to innovate
  • A broad approach to innovation (not just high
    tech, also product, service, social, public
    sector, eco)
  • 34 commitments 24 25 concern structural funds
    and smart specialisation

"Smart Specialisation is a strategic approach to
economic development through targeted support to
Research and Innovation"
What is Smart Specialisation ?
priority setting in times of scarce resources
getting better / excel with something specific
focus investments on regional comparative
advantage accumulation of critical mass not
necessarily focus on a single sector, but
evidence-based all assets no top-down
decision, but dynamic/entrepreneurial discovery
process inv. key stakeholders global
perspective on potential competitive advantage
potential for cooperation source-in knowledge
and technologies etc. rather than re-inventing
the wheel
In a nutshell Smart Specialisation is based on
4 Cs
  • Competitive advantage match RI with business
    and develop links (related variety) adoption of
    (generic/new) technologies for diversification/mod
    ernisation of sectors explore emerging areas
  • Policy Choices (tough ones) select few
    priorities on basis of specialisation
    integration in international value chains
  • Critical mass of resources talent cooperation
    between regions by avoiding duplication and
  • Collaborative Leadership involve stakeholders
    from academia, businesses, public administrations
    and civil society ("quadruple helix") synergies
    between funding instruments (EU, national,

The evolution of Smart Specialisation
  • Expert workshop in Barcelona, June 2008,
    organised by JRC-IPTS
  • JRC Scientific and Technical Reports, 2009  The
    question of RD specialisation Perspectives and
    policy implications 
  • Knowledge for Growth expert group launched the
    concept in the framework of ERA (2009)
  • The concept is incorporated in the Europe 2020
    agenda as part of the Innovation Union flagship
    initiative (2010)
  • EC Communication  Regional policy contributing
    to smart growth in Europe 2020  - smart
    specialisation as a key concept for the EU
    regional and cohesion policy 2014-2020
  • EC proposes S3 as a 'thematic ex-ante
    conditionality' for RI spending under ERDF
  • S3 Platform is established at JRC-IPTS (2011)

How to develop a S3?
Why should universities care about smart
  • Increasing concern about social and economic
    impact of publicly funded universities (e.g.
    ranking and funding U-multi rank, UK REF,
    Austira Leistungsvereinbarungen, Spain Aneca)
  • Large amount of European Structural and
    Investment Funds linked to smart specialisation
  • Opportunity to build partnerships with local and
    regional authorities for mutual benefit
  • Synergies between support for RI through the
    structural funds and European / national
    competitive financing will determine the overall
    funding structure

Cohesion Policy funding for RI 2007-2013
  • Cohesion Policy innovation support over total
  • 4 in 89-93
  • 7 in 94-99
  • 11 in 00-06
  • 25 in 07-13

Cohesion policy - planned investment by major
investment fields - 2007-2013 (in billions)
see http//
ERDF 2014-20 Concentration on RI, ICTsand SMEs
to maximise impact
At least two of four themes must be selected
Developed regions
Less developed regions (plus island and
outermost regions)
Transition regions
Cohesion Policy
Billion EUR
Less developed regions 164.3
Transition regions 31.7
More developed regions 49.5
Cohesion Fund 66.4
European territorial cooperation 8.9
Of which
Cross border cooperation 6.6
Transnational cooperation 1.8
Interregional cooperation 0.5
Outermost regions and northern sparsely populated regions 1.4
Youth Employment initiative 3.0
TOTAL 325.1
Investment Priority 1 Council modifications
(1) strengthening research, technological
development and innovation (a) enhancing
research and innovation (RI) infrastructure
and capacities to develop RI excellence and
promoting centres of competence, in particular
those of European interest (b) promoting
business investment in innovation and
research, and developing links and synergies
between enterprises, RD centres and higher
education, in particular product and service
development, technology transfer, social
innovation and public service applications,
demand stimulation, networking, clusters and open
innovation through smart specialisation
supporting technological and applied research,
pilot lines, early product validation actions,
advanced manufacturing capabilities and first
production in Key Enabling Technologies and
diffusion of general purpose technologies )
ICT, photonics, nano-electonics, nano- and
bio-technologies, advanced materials, etc..
Cohesion Policy
An Agenda for Modernisation of Europes 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 regions assessment of
    its knowledge assets, capabilities and
    competencies, including those embedded in the
    institutions 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

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Contribution of universities to S3
Generative Research related (but not limited)
to regional priorities Multi- and cross-
disciplinary Connectivity knowledge
nodes Support regional analysis
Absorptive Help build capacity to ensure
local firms absorb knowledge Provide demand
through teaching and learning activities Nurture
social ties that drive RIS
Collaborative Neutral regional brokers Reach
Out need 'boundary spanners' Reach In
Co-production of knowledge
Leadership Support regional vision and
partnership Propose joint activities Place
Source Based on Kempton et al (2013)
Universities and Smart Specialisation, JRC S3
Policy Brief 3, European Commission
The disconnected region
Source Goddard, J and Kempton, L (2011)
Connecting Universities to Regional Growth,
European Commission
The connected region
Strong partnerships based on shared understanding
of the barriers and how to overcome them
Source Goddard, J and Kempton, L (2011)
Connecting Universities to Regional Growth,
European Commission
  • How to start entrepreneurial discovery process
  • Kick-start with consultation in quadruple helix
  • Detect potential boundary-spanners between
    different stakeholder / interest groups, new
    innovative entrepreneurs, hidden champions, or
    persons with a potential for this is one of the
    aims of this first step.
  • See new annex III of RIS3 Guide

Research education public and private research
bodies, universities, education and training,
science and technology parks, Technology
transfer offices, etc.
Business manufacturing and services, primary
sectors, financial sector, creative industries,
social sector, large firms, SMEs, young
entrepreneurs, students with business ideas,
cluster and business organisations,
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, Talents! etc. Civil society / Users
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Horizon 2020 and Cohesion Policy Differences
and complementary objectives
EU RD and Innovation Policy future Horizon 2020 EU Cohesion Policy
Differences Differences
Based largely on individual RD and innovation projects of a pre-competitive nature aiming at advancing knowledge and fostering innovation for growth and jobs, including but not exclusively frontier research (also co-funding national and regional programmes) Based on multiannual programmes aiming at increased to reduce regional disparities, including through close to the market competitive RD and innovation efforts
Awarded directly to final beneficiaries (firms, public and private RD centres and Universities, including national and regional governments in certain cases Art. 185, ERA-NET etc.) Awarded through shared management exclusively to national and regional public intermediaries
Through transnational competitive calls addressed to international groupings through peer review based on excellence criteria Non competitive attribution addressed to regional players based on strategic planning negotiation (however calls possible at national or regional level)
Synergies and Complementarities Synergies and Complementarities
Horizon 2020 will focus on tackling major societal challenges, maximising the competitiveness impact of research and innovation (Industrial leadership) and raising and spreading levels of excellence in the research base Cohesion policy will focus on galvanising smart specialisation that will act as a capacity building instrument, based on learning mechanisms and the creation of critical skills in regions and Member States.
134 EU regions 11 EU countries 2 non-EU
Transantional Cooperaion
Benchmarking and targeted support
Methodological Guidance
Interactive tools, S3 Newsletter and Website
Country- and Macro-region events and targeted
seminars at IPTS
Research and analysis
Peer Review workshops trans-national learning
Thematic workshops working groups
Extra support for digital agenda and ICT sections
of RIS3
RIS3 assessment and support to REGIO desks
Universities and the S3 Platform
Working with the European University
Association Two day workshop in Seville,
February 2013 Open Days workshop in October 2013
together with DG Education and Culture More
activities in 2014, including high level
conference in Brussels (June tbc) Find out more
Thank you!