Project Outline


The overarching goal of the project is to operationalise the concept of smart specialisation in a manner which will be useful to actors in different regional contexts. It will do this by strengthening the analytical underpinnings of the smart specialisation concept, providing methodological guidance for practice and generating strategic intelligence for policy-makers. Through an integrated, multi-dimensional and place-based approach focused on 8 Work Packages, SmartSpec develops robust practical and analytical findings to strengthen the implementation of smart specialisation strategies. With a strong emphasis on knowledge exchange and facilitated learning, SmartSpec will deliver useful results to inform practitioners and policymakers in the development and assessment of smart specialisation strategies, whilst extending the state of the art.

Project Objectives

SmartSpec has 6 objectives that address particular challenges for the smart specialization approach.

  1. Identification of institutional and systemic bottlenecks for smart specialisation and the possible need for reforms in a comparative perspective;
  2. The role of organisations and their interaction for the development and implementation of smart specialisation strategies;
  3. Assessment of the challenge for Member States and regions with less-developed research and innovation systems to design and maximise the impact of their smart specialisation strategies.
  4. The link between smart specialisation and social innovation: the role of social innovation in smart specialisation: social innovation as public service innovation, involvement of users and citizens in processes of design and decision.
  5. Supporting the production of better metrics, evaluation and monitoring of smart specialisation strategies and the design of an asset-based multi-sectoral policy mix;
  6. Development of processes of peer review assessment of strategies.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement number 320131.