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Smart Specialisation Platform

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

Public administrations at regional and national level in Europe must deal with a conundrum of expectations and realities in times of turbulent economic and technological change and the pressing need to address societal challenges with limited resources. The European Commission has a powerful instrument to tackle these challenges: the Cohesion Policy supporting regional development in cooperation with regional administrations.

To make the implementation of this policy more effective, the European Commission established the Smart Specialisation Platform in 2011. A team of around 25 applied researchers based at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Seville has supported a new approach towards public administration support called ‘smart specialisation’, helping regional and national administrations to prioritise their efforts in making their local economies more innovative. Our project has contributed to the design and implementation of participatory innovation strategies that address local challenges across Europe. These strategies provide a transparent justification for choosing economic domains to concentrate funding.

In the past six years, we have provided hands-on guidance, methodologies and analyses to build administrative capacity to set priorities for public investments, using three novel approaches: 1. Participatory methods that bring together policy-makers and administrators facing similar challenges to discuss their strategies, intervention logics and instruments. We involved local, national and European stakeholders and experts in more than 120 interactive events. Our platform was conceived as ‘an innovation meant to trigger innovation’ by focusing on community-building and mutual learning across all sectors. 2. Support inter-regional collaboration by disseminating information through comprehensive open data tools. We developed a participatory online platform to collect relevant information on all public investment priorities across the EU to support innovative projects. Together with policy-makers in regional and national administrations, we have collected this data in a crowd-sourced way. As a result, more than 20 new innovation partnerships were launched. 3. Dissemination of good practices. Most administrations are eager to effectively prioritise actions, yet often lack examples to learn from. Our project has become a knowledge hub on innovation policy design, based on the experience of providing binding feedback to improve more than 180 local development strategies linked to investments worth more than €35 billion through the EU’s Cohesion Policy.

Political endorsements from the EP, the European Council and the CoR have repeatedly confirmed the value of our support for improving EU investments for local development. Inside the EC, our work has triggered new joint initiatives and dialogues across several DGs that coordinate three project portfolios covering more than 80 regions through the involvement of over 120 stakeholders. By streamlining our participatory methods across organisations and encouraging a more transparent justification for public investments, we have brought policy-making closer to citizens and local stakeholders. Positive media coverage underscores how our approach to local development has enhanced collaboration between businesses and the public sector, with significant potential for creating jobs


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Award info
Award category: new solutions to complex challenges - european or national level
Award type: diploma
Award year: 2017
Project type
Sector: Science, research, innovation
Type of activity:
Keywords: Regional development, innovation, participatory policy-making, evidence- based policy-making
Short English description: Public administrations at regional and national level in Europe must deal with a conundrum of expectations and realities in times of turbulent economic and technological change and the pressing need to address societal challenges with limited resources. The European Commission has a powerful instrument to tackle these challenges: the Cohesion Policy supporting regional development in cooperation with regional administrations.
Further information
Organisation: Unit B3 Territorial Development, Joint Research Centre, European Commission
Other applicants:
Homepage:
Level of government: national level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved: >15
Country: Spain
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:


Smart Specialisation Platform (37.39501, -6.0105290000000195)
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