On the 22nd of July EURADA, alongside TechMeter, organised a webinar on the big-data tool to track the performance of Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3s) – the TechMeter Regional Analyzer. Dr Manfred Stadlbauer, the founder of TechMeter, explained how the tool works and has answered questions from the audience.  

The TechMeter Regional Analyzer is an interactive big-data application that supports development agencies by visualising live dashboards with key metrics. These metrics help in developing high-impact action plans and tracking the success of S3s.  

The tool very much focuses on technologies and provides insights in technology strengths in regions. It helps analysing and benchmarking in what sectors regions have a match between the two main focuses; industrial and academic strengths. The tool is also about understanding patents of interregional cooperation; on the one hand, it helps strengthen competencies locally and, on the other hands, it concerns technology diffusion and interaction (regionally and technically).  

For Regional Development Agencies, the focus will be on the S3, thus the main information will be the dual strength analysis using the different outputs from industry and academia to build benchmarks and to see how balanced these areas are and the most important emerging technologies. 

In short, with this tool RDAs can keep track of and have robust and detailed information about regional technological strengths and benchmarks, derive which are the Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) of a region, create other benchmarks, and cooperate with target universities and companies. One can see the powerful technologies of a region and identify emerging opportunities globally. Also important is the point where RDAs can find complementary technologies and industries and know the actors (universities and companies) and who to connect with to create strong combinations following our local strengths. 

Roberto Parras, RIS3 Secretary at IVACE, the Regional Development Agency of the region of Valencia, added to Dr. Stadlbauer’s presentation with his insights and questions regarding the tool. Considering the tool of special interest and value for any RDA involved in the planning of an S3, expectations are very high.  

He puts the focus on the difficulties of carrying out the monitoring with certain guarantees of reliability of the results, which revolve about the uncertainty of applying the information tracked, since it might not be reliable. The TechMeter tool is a proactive one presenting technical and practical understandings that makes it easier to decide where the focus of an analysis should be, thus making it possible to go far when carrying out the analysis.  

Questions arose about the basic premise which is big data analysis of patents and inventions. Responsibility, sustainability and inclusivity are to be put on the table. Otherwise, in low technology intensity regions where the cost of protection of knowledge significantly reduces the low added value of innovations, the tool might not be as complete as could be and other aspects could be considered. 

From Dr. Stadlbauer’s side, it should be said that those remarks are being taken into account to start being implemented totally, and the comments are very much appreciated. More variables ought to be shown, such as the level of funding given and exports.  

The session was closed with a round of questions and answers, to be found below:  

  1. Is it recommendable to invest more in regional strengths than other sectors with not so much growth? 

More than investing, it is about knowing how to do so. If there is a local strength, there is a significant industry and academic input, a good benchmark. It is necessary to match this strength with the opportunities of the moment and the emerging technologies.  

  1. Do you have any examples of policies? 

Success can be had by identifying universities to cooperate with at an early stage. RDAs and Chambers of Commerce which team up with universities are normally very successful. 

  1. Could you please indicate again how you identify emerging technologies? What are the criteria? Fast growth of an unknown technical field? 

From all the information surrounding the patents (where one can see the lot of connecting technologies), one can see its evolution and make an analysis, so clusters do appear. Looking into the past two years, if one finds technology combinations in literature which are not only growing exponentially but are also new, it is possible to put them in a “basket”. This basket helps to avoid having too many clusters with individual KETs in the centre of the technology cluster. 

  1. Taking into account ethical considerations in their work and public engagement (two of the keys of the European Commission’s Responsible Research & Innovation agenda)? Can interdisciplinary cooperation make products less harmful? 

It is indeed considered it important, necessary to integrate. Considering the difference between giant industries and smaller companies, one can see that the biggest difference is the number of patents, so it is possible to calculate the degree of specialisation of companies. The industry giant will have huge output, startups would have some outputs but highly specialised, so responsibility will be approached differently. 

  1. What about subscription models? How long does it take to create for a region the mapping 

It depends on how much time it is necessary to define the topics, including the consulting. The regular fee changes every year and it depends on the specific questions. The data needs to be changed every year and the frequency of updates should be matched with different variables, so it depends.  

For more information, feel free to look at Techemter’s website and the TechMeter Regional Analyzer concept paper