SmartSpec Opens with Successful Conference
On 7th November 2013, the SmartSpec project held its Opening Conference. Hosted in the European Parliament the successful morning attracted 79 delegates who heard presentations from members of the project team and representatives of DG Regio, DG RTD and the EU's Smart Specialisation Platform. The afternoon session moved to the Renaissance Hotel, where delegates discussed the practical implementation of Smart Specialisation from regional perspectives.
Derek Vaughan, MEP Wales
Kevin Morgan, Cardiff University
Mikel Landabaso, European Commission
Dimitri Corpakis, European Commission
Ron Boschma, Lund University
Jiří Blažek, Charles University
Xabier Goenaga, European Commission
Lorena Rivera León, Technopolis
Claire Nauwelaers, RIS3 expert
Nancy Tarjenian, Moderna Plan, Navarra, Spain
High-level event on Smart Specialisation
On 8th November, members of the SmartSpec project attended a high-level event on smart specialisation. Entitled 'Regions as motors of new growth through smart specialisation - matching strategies for common goals', the event was opened by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and addressed by a number of MEPs, EU Commissioners, Director Generals and the Minister-President of Flanders. There was consensus that it was essential to close the innovation gap if Europe is to emerge from economic crisis. This is a long term goal which will also involve closing the commercialisation gap and the education gap facing the EU. The various speakers highlighted the importance of collaboration, both in the form of the triple (or quadruple) helix and amongst policy makers at different scales. However, whilst the smart specialisation approach offers advantages and opportunities to regions that have the ambition to act as pioneers, some speakers also warned of the risks that the approach offers to wider territorial cohesion agenda. The event also signalled the launch of the Vanguard Initiative - a collaboration between 10 European regions which exemplifies the potential of this approach, but also some of the possible challenges to the territorial agenda.
Grant number 320131.