David is professor of regional economic development and policy at the European Policy Research Centre (EPRC) in the University of Strathclyde.
EPRC is a specialist centre researching regional policies, primarily focusing on EU member countries and the policies of the EU itself. Previously David was at Newcastle University before moving to Curtin University in Perth, Australia.
Lessons for Regions from the new EU Smart Specialisation Strategies
Regional innovation policies have been promoted by the EU for almost two decades. Over time, the concept of regional innovation strategies has evolved and become somewhat main-streamed in Europe’s regions. It is being further developed at present through ’smart specialisation strategies for regional innovation’ in response to the Europe 2020 strategy.
Although the concept of smart specialisation is not necessarily different from regional innovation strategies, there is an enhanced focus on the diversification of the region on the basis of existing strengths as well as a more dynamic approach to cluster policy. This approach fits with current thinking on regional policy in being place-based, where regional strategies are distinctive and founded on exploiting local assets. A final dimension is the recognition of inter-regional connectedness.
This raises questions as to what is a smart specialisation strategy, and whether it makes sense for all regions to follow this model. Smart specialisation should not be seen as being about technology as such but about knowledge and its application. The presentation will examine the concept of smart specialisation and its applicability to a range of different forms of regional context, and will question the mechanisms by which innovation can be encouraged in regions lacking strong technology-based clusters. Implications for Australian regions will be drawn out in discussion.
Papers and presentations
Paper: Smart Specialisation and Cohesion Policy- a strategy for all regions? (opens in new window)