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Smart specialisation ‘must cross borders’

Europe’s regions must work together on complementary innovation activities to effectively stimulate economic growth, a conference on smart specialisation has heard.

In 2014, the European Commission began requiring regions to have strategies for smart specialisation—a focus on areas with high innovation potential based on existing expertise or resources—to be eligible for structural funding to support R&D. This has fostered knowledge exchange but, with more than 120 strategies in place, it needs to be better coordinated, according to speakers at the Smart Regions 2.0 Conference in Helsinki on 1 and 2 June.

“Smart complementarity” is crucial, said Patrizio Bianchi, a former academic economist and now a minister for the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. Complementary specialisations need to be connected to forge a “smart Europe”, he said.

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