Training programme for Smart Specialisation Strategists being explored

Policy Area Innovation has a strong focus on Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) as one of three policy instruments of priority outlined in the Policy Area Innovation Strategy Guide. According to Policy Area Innovation there is a clear need for training for regional Smart Specialisation Strategists/Experts.


Smart Specialisation is a strategic approach to economic development through targeted support for research and innovation. It involves a process of developing a vision, identifying the place-based areas of greatest strategic potential, developing multi-stakeholder governance mechanisms, setting strategic priorities and using smart policies to maximize the knowledge-based development potential of a region, regardless of whether it is strong or weak, high-tech or low-tech [1].

Regions are through Smart Specialisation Strategies owners of and responsible for developing their own Innovation Ecosystem. The Smart Specialisation Strategies are expected to be implemented partly in a transnational context to fully utilize the innovation potential in different regions. The idea is to through collaboration build synergies between regions to develop stronger and more elaborated innovation value chains.

Development of a training programme for Smart Specialisation

At this stage, the scope of the training is foreseen to cover:

  1. How to develop regional Smart Specialisation Strategies for transnational implementation
  2. How to implement Smart Specialisation Strategies transnationally
  3. How to create local and regional political engagement and commitment for Smart Specialisation Strategy development and implementation with transnational activities.

The tentative time-table and activity plan for the Greenfield activity related to training of Smart Specialisation Strategists/Experts can be seen bellow. Policy Area Innovation has informed Swedish Institute about PA-Innovation ambitions. PA-Innovation will explore the potential to develop a Baltic Leadership Programme for S3 Strategists/Experts with Swedish Institute.

A round table will be arranged in Brussels or in Stockholm on the 29th of November, to further explore and establish the regional demand. Furthermore, a workshop is anticipated to be carried out in early January 2018, after a thorough analysis of the round table discussion outcomes. This workshop will help determine a way to conduct a pre-study, possibly through Swedish Institute, to develop a training programme for S3 strategists/experts.

Tentative time-table and activity plan

November 2017 – Round table discussion – Regions – identifying indicative training needs

December 2017Presenting training needs for Smart Specialisation Strategist/Experts – Policy Area Innovation Steering Committee –   Endorsement/support to develop a training programme

January 2018Workshop – S3 experts and pan-Baltic innovation actors – establishing a model for a pre-study to determine content for and structure of a training programme

Spring 2018Pre-study to develop content for training modules

Autumn 2018Training modules for S3 strategists and experts


Please contact, Fanny Rehula at fanreh@norden.org, if you are a regional Smart Specialisation Strategist that has an interest to contribute to our process.

Niclas Forsling EUSBSR Policy Area Coordinator – Innovation

[1] Midtkandal, Inger & Sörvik, Jens (2012) What is Smart Specialisation? Nordregio News Issue 5