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2020 SMARTER Conference on Smart Specialisation and Territorial Development

Connecting Grand Societal Challenges with Local Goals in Place-based Innovation Policy

Increasingly, innovation policies are framed around grand societal challenges and sustainable transformation. More traditional objectives of productivity enhancement, job creation and international competitiveness are accompanied by the search for solutions to environmental and social needs in line with the European Green Deal priority and the accomplishments of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, to be achieved through the mobilisation of science, technology and innovation. This transformation is also gaining momentum in local and regional policy making, raising a number of issues in relation to the capacity of place-based industrial innovation policies to meet these goals. What are the implications of this shift for place-based policy and instruments? What does the alignment of solutions to social and environmental problems with more traditional growth objectives imply? How can potential contradictions between different goals and dimensions (social, environmental and economic) be resolved?  Can we expect territorial policies to deliver on broad societal challenges, by providing solutions to those needs that are locally relevant? This conference is a forum for debating those issues.

Smart Specialisation provides a unique entry point for such debate. Smart Specialisation is a place-based EU policy promoting economic transformation by designing targeted investment in research and innovation. Building on a growing interest in this policy, the main principles and mechanisms of Smart Specialisation are travelling fast, attracting attention outside the European Union. At the same time, the Smart Specialisation approach is evolving, incorporating evidence on what worked what did not, embracing a larger policy scope than research and innovation and enriching its policy toolbox.

The conference will provide a comprehensive picture of the Smart Specialisation policy experience, including an evaluation of its results and an account of its recent developments both conceptually and empirically. Particular attention will be given to the intervention logic, implementation challenges and ways to address them, as well as methodologies for monitoring and evaluation.


30 Sep 2020 @ 09:00 am

2 Oct 2020 @ 04:30 pm

Duration: 2 days, 7 hours


CaixaForum Sevilla

Camino do los Descubrimientos

41092 Sevilla


Organised by

RSA Europe

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