Eurada News nº390 - July 2019

Free Massive Open Online Training Course on how to design Smart Specialisation Strategies

MOOC: Massive Online Training Course is especially intended for public policymakers on the regional, national and international levels, in Europe, North America and Asia, covering Smart Specialisation Strategies from theory to operationalisation.

The smart specialization concept provides a new policy and practice approach to research and innovation in regions/countries that promote their strengths in these areas to accelerate regional development and structural change, and increase regional comparative advantage through targeted investments. Existing or future local strengths are identified through an ‘entrepreneurial discovery process’ (EDP) whereby regional/local Quadruple Helix innovation stakeholders (universities and research institutions, companies, clusters, public authorities, civil society) work together to identify strategic priorities that could create or enhance competitive advantage for the region. They develop joint projects that can strengthen the knowledge potential and business capabilities of the region, access international markets and value chains, build networks, trust, social capital, and combine various resources and funding channels to achieve the set objectives (Foray, David, & Hall, 2009).

While the majority of regional innovation environments operate in more or less established institutional, policy and regulatory contexts, countries and regions that are in the early stages of developing regional innovation systems and wish to accelerate their growth need to address some questions with no easy answer: ‘what makes a regional innovation system?’, ‘where should we start?’, ‘who should lead the process?’, ‘what type of regional innovation system is best suited to us?’, ‘how do we know we are on the right track?’.

A region’s industrial specialization is related to specific local factors, such as economic structures and industrial legacies, and efficiency in generating new knowledge, resulting from the R&D intensity of the local private sector and public research institutions. Regions with a higher specialization in high-technology services, or close to such regions are more innovative, due to a higher capacity to transform knowledge into innovation. In contrast, path dependency patterns slow down the process of building location-specific industrial specialization and competitive advantages in the regions.

The Massive Open Online Course on Smart Specialisation Strategies developed by the BAK S3 Association offers an overview of the concept and methods to design and apply smart specialisation strategies. Contrary to previous years, this year the course is exceptionally offered free of charge.

The lecturers Dominique Foray (EPFL) and Martin Eichler (BAK Economics) will use theories and case studies to explain the practice and implementation of a smart specialisation strategy during the 11 weeks of the course. Attendance of the course entails every other week approximately one hour of presentations; in addition 30 minutes of exercises and two hour’s assignment.

This course, starting from the 7th of October 2019 is especially intended for public policymakers on the regional, national and international levels, in Europe, North America and Asia. It is also meant for those responsible for development policies, in Africa or South America for example. It is then targeted at experts and analysts who develop consulting services in this domain.

Register through this link.



Marina Ranga (2018) Smart specialization as a strategy to develop early-stage regional innovation systems, European Planning Studies, 26:11, 2125-2146, DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2018.1530149

Foray D., David, P. A., & Hall, B. (2009). Smart specialisation – the concept, knowledge economists policy brief n° 9 June 2009.


Written by Mátyás Tálas, EU Project Officer at EURADA