Innovative place-based Triple Helix approaches for regional development through Smart Specialisation Strategies

4th June 6 pm CEST


Organized in the framework of the HLX4EU project in  cooperation with the School of Business and Society at St Mary’s University in the UK and with the support from Erasmus+ programme of the European Union (Jean Monnet Project)

Objective of the webinar

The objectives of this webinar are to review practices supporting the smart specialization process, and to discuss the roles and engagement between regional authorities and other actors – shaping the future of innovation ecosystems.

Expected outcomes

  • Presentation of insights on the policy process around smart specialization
  • Exploring the concepts and practice of policy mixes and instrument mixes
  • How strategic intelligence enables the policy process
  • Boundaries and dynamics of regional innovation ecosystems
  • From consultation to orchestration – the role of multi-stakeholder engagement
  • Driving forces behind regional economic growth.
  • Understanding – what creates institutional thickness and how to mobilize institutional actors.

Target audience

  • Innovation policy makers
  • Regional authorities
  • Managers of clusters and other sectoral association
  • Managers of Science Parks and other hybrid organisations
  • Project managers and Network managers
Talk 1 title


The political dimension of smart specialisation as a new approach towards European integration (decentralised alignment on common objectives)
Main contents ·     The increasing role of missions and strategic European partnerships, articulating smart specialisation around issues as leadership and complementarity

·     In particular the potential of cities as transition leaders and the challenge to build networks based on smart specialisation strategies to make them effective.

·     The challenge of instrument mixes for S3 in multi-level governance of smart specialisation: each competence domain considering the place-based nature of innovation to align their instruments for integrated transformative S3 strategies

·     The role of strategic intelligence (indicators) to shift policy focus from internal RIS3 priorities to external positioning, from benchmarking with peers to matching with partners.

Speaker Shot bio

 Jan Larosse is a former policy adviser of the Flemish Government for innovation and industrial policies. Jan Larosse graduated in economics and philosophy at the University of Leuven. He worked for 25 years in the innovation policy of the Flanders Region. He was a long-time member of the OECD Working Party on Technology and Innovation Policy and national expert in DG Research and DG Regio of the European Commission. In these capacities he was also engaged in the development of smart specialisation policy frameworks and implementation. He is co-founder of the ‘Vanguard Initiative for New Growth through Smart Specialisation’ and of the ‘Friends of Smart Specialisation’
Talk 2 title


The role of government, universities and business leaders in shaping economic growth.
Main contents Regional innovation ecosystems or place-based strategies for integrated development are gaining currency as key aspects of research, innovation and increasingly industrial policy. However, these systems need the ‘boundary spanners’,[1] the ‘orchestrators’ and ‘conductors’ to develop the ecosystem. We know that these roles should be found in triple or quadruple helix organisations but there is still an issue that there is no career path, often no job title for these key actors in universities or industry and local and regional government. Is smart specialization the process that can identify and valorise these roles?


Innovation is now seen as a key dimension of regional economic development.[2] Increasingly regions are now seen as drivers of innovation within regional innovation ecosystems. Thus, innovation is increasingly seen as an interactive and systemic process involving a wide range of actors both public and private and shaped by institutional routines and social conventions. Institutional thickness refers to the ability of a range of relevant organisations to connect both within a region or a functional economic area and between regions or other functional economic areas. Institutional thickness is part of institutional and regional strategy processes which Reichert’s[3] identifies as one of the elements of an innovation ecosystem. Other dimensions include that encompasses, culture which includes shared narratives and trust, human capital, knowledge production, supporting structures and network communication and channels.


This regional dimension of innovation has been influenced by the ‘knowledge triangle’ and the increased role of universities in cities and regions as drivers of innovation. The knowledge triangle promotes a close relationship between education, research and innovation. However, according to Markkula 2013,[4] this triangle requires an orchestration process that can actively link partners together through strategic alliances.

Speaker Short Bio

 Richard Tuffs was director of the ERRIN network from October 2010 to August 2017. He then acted as senior advisor until December 2018.

ERRIN is a regional network that promotes the regional dimension of the European research and innovation agenda, European project development and management and raises the profile of its member regions and cities in Brussels.

Prior to working with ERRIN, Richard Tuffs worked in Brussels on the regional dimension of European policy in territorial cohesion and research for many years and worked for both the Kent and the West Midlands offices in Brussels. Before focusing on regional policy, his Brussels career started at the Free University of Brussels and then he co-ordinated the UK’s Open University’s office in Brussels.

Richard Tuffs has been in involved in numerous EU projects such as science communication, future internet, smart specialisation, regional innovation, smart cities, territorial planning and eco-innovation. He has also acted as an evaluator for Horizon 2020 and Climate-KIC projects.

He was the rapporteur for the European Commission expert group on the Capital of Innovation prize launched in 2013 and also served as a rapporteur on the European Commission’s Advisory Group for Science with and for Society as well as on many other advisory boards focusing on education, research and innovation. He was also member of the Smart Specialisation Mirror Group. He is often invited to moderate, present and act as rapporteur at conferences on European research and innovation topics such as the annual European Week of Regions and Cities and the Week of Innovative Regions in Europe.

Richard has a degree in geography and social sciences from Sussex University and master’s degrees in town planning (Birmingham City University), applied linguistics (Aston University) and business administration (Open University).  His career also spans town planning, applied linguistics, language and management training, university lecturing and research and education administration.

In 2017 Richard was pleased to accept the EURADA Christiane Bom Award for fostering European interregional cooperation.


[2] Marc Lemaître, Director General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission (DG REGIO) – Seminar on Synergy Building at Nordrhein-Westfalen Office in Brussels 18th February 201

[3] Sybille Reichert (2019), The Role of Universities in Regional Innovation Ecosystems, European University Association

[4] Markku Markkula (2013) The Knowledge Triangle, Aalto University, and Universitat Politèchnica de Valencia

The webinar is free of charge 

To register send an email to: *email address protected*