The launch of the Smart Specialisation Platform for Industrial Modernisation

Submitted by Lucia Seel on 03 June 2016

The ECCP team was present during the two day Smart Regions conference held in Brussels 1-2 June 2016 during which the European Commission launched the Smart Specialisation Platform for Industrial Modernisation.

During the Smart Regions conference, attended by 300+ participants, the European Commission launched the Smart Specialisation Platform for Industrial Modernisation.  This new initiative offers hands-on support to regions to foster interregional cooperation based on matching smart specialisation priorities related to industrial modernisation - such as Key Enabling Technologies, service innovation or resource efficiency. It will be hosted by the European Commission's Smart Specialisation Platform located in Seville.

The aim of this initiative is to create an investment pipeline of mature projects in new growth areas across the EU, by providing tailored advice and helping regions establish links with the business and research communities. The platform could help regions develop or share infrastructure such as testing facilities, pilot plants, data centres, and Fab-Labs.

The event was organised by DG Regio and was supported by Commissioners and senior representative from 5 European DG’s.  Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: "Regions with similar competitive industrial assets and investment priorities will be able to work together on innovative projects that will benefit European growth. This initiative will also help them fully seize the investment opportunities provided by the ESI Funds, with over €120 billion to be invested in smart growth over 2014-2020."

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "Industrial modernisation needs to happen at a regional level, but regions need to join forces. The Smart Specialisation Platform on Industrial Modernisation will help EU regions roll out industrial investment projects for jobs, growth and competitiveness."  In her speech she also announced the launch of the new Smart Guide to Cluster Policy and encouraged clusters to use the new ECCP partnering tool and participate in the ESCP-S3 Expression of Interest.  Indeed, clusters wishing to launch partnering initiatives can now use the new Partnering tool available on the ECCP platform and exploit the opportunities provided by the ESCP-S3 Expression of Interest.

The new Smart Guide to Cluster Policy developed as part of the European Cluster Observatory team, is a practical guide targeting regional authorities and stakeholders interested in "how to make better use of clusters for promoting regional industrial modernisation, supporting the growth of SMEs and encouraging smart specialisation". It explains what cluster and cluster policies are and what they are not, what makes them successful and why they matter. It presents eight Do's and Don'ts and showcases four Smart Cluster Stories, several cluster programme examples and practical instruments implemented by regions as part of modern cluster policies.

The Guidebook is the result of the collaboration of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy and was prepared with the support of the experts of the European Cluster Observatory. The Guide launched during the Smart Regions conference on the 1-2 June 2016 is the latest publication in the series of Guidebooks on supporting SME policy through structural funds. It provides input and guidance for the discussions and actions to be taken in the context of the launch of the Smart Specialisation Platform on Industrial Modernisation.

Speakers such as Professors Dominique Foray from EPFL and Kevin Morgan of Cardiff University highlighted the importance of interregional and inter sectoral collaboration and argued that Smart Specialisation Strategies provided good opportunities for business actors to engage in these processes. Meanwhile, Professor Radosevic from University College London argued that it was important for ecosystem actors such as clusters to engage in Global Value Chains and support place based growth investments.

During the two days, the event participants had the opportunity to participate in a world café style networking session and visit the Smart Regions Exhibition where some 30+ regions, many supported by their cluster communities, showcased their smart specialisation areas for example the CENTRO Region in Portugal.  Other key cluster support partners such as the INTERREG Europe Team and the Policy Learning Platform and ERRIN were also present.

Further Background Material

Regions across the European Union have developed some 120  national or regional innovation strategies for smart specialisation. They provide a strategic framework for the innovation-driven economic transformation of European regions and set out the main priorities for investments. They address emerging opportunities and market developments in order to build a competitive advantage by developing and matching research and innovation strengths to business needs, often facilitated by cluster ecosystem actors. European Structural Investment Funds are the main financing source.

This High-Level Event highlighted the key role of regions in developing new growth dynamics for Europe, based on bottom-up entrepreneurship and innovation. It encouraged the mobilisation of this potential for transformation in priority areas, e.g. energy transition, digital growth, circular economy, agro-food or industrial modernisation. Smart specialisation strategies can leverage numerous new growth opportunities for all regions, when aligning their business driven smart specialisation investments in new European value chains. The High-Level Event sought to  accelerate the set-up of effective partnerships for co-investing across regions that commit to their smart specialisation priorities.

The Smart Specialisation Platforms, managed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, will provide expertise, advice and networking opportunities through workshops and seminars

Share this Article