Webinar Series

Smart Specialisation – evidence based implementation in the EU

DELIVERED:  28 February 2017
Speakers:  Dimitrios Corpakis and Lena Bologni

Moderator: Panayiotis H Kelikidis, Chairman of the South East European Research Centre and President of the THA Chapter of Greece


The Webinar will address the emerging concept of Smart Specialisation, a place-based growth strategy that has been now fully integrated in the European Union’s Regional development policy and is already an ex-ante condition for all EU countries planning to get Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) support for research and innovation investment.  More than 120 Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation are currently in place and being deployed on the ground.  The Webinar will present the European experience so far, and will demonstrate the very successful case study of smart specialisation implementation in the region of Emilia-Romagna, Italy.  It will attempt to reveal concepts, strategies, and expectations targeting innovation for local growth and jobs.

Expected Outcome

At the end of the Webinar, participants should:

  • have acquired a working knowledge of the concept of Smart Specialisation and of the practical steps they need to go through to make it operational on the ground,
  • be able to understand the European experience, identify key success factors and pitfalls, stemming from different realities in governance, regional, and national innovation systems as well as approaches in empowering local innovators, start-ups and clusters, and
  • be able to outline a course of action for their own regional communities and adapt it to their economic profile and expectations.

Target Audience

Policy makers at all levels of government, with an emphasis on local planners.  Cluster managers, corporate leaders, business innovators and academics, will all benefit from the webinar, while their feedback will provide important insights for further developing the concept and its relationship to the Triple Helix.

Talk 1

The European experience on Smart Specialisation: reinventing regional policy through the entrepreneurial discovery process

  • The Knowledge Economy and its role as a game changer for national and local development.
  • The concept of Smart Specialisation and its logic.
  • Creating competitive advantage using unique growth drivers and integrating global value chains.
  • Designing Strategies for Smart Specialisation: research, development and innovation spurring economic development.
  • The implementation challenge: creating feedback loops for successful action and corrective interventions.
  • Planning challenges for cities and regions.


Dr Dimitrios Corpakis

Former European Commission
Brussels BELGIUM
*email address protected*



Dr Dimitri Corpakis, an engineer by training, has to date more than thirty years’ experience in European affairs.  Dimitri has worked in many EU policy areas including Education, ICT, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Regional Innovation Ecosystems with an emphasis on interactions and synergies between the Union’s Research and Innovation and Cohesion Policies (European Structural and Investment Funds.  In recent years, Dimitri led the European Commission’s DG Research’s Unit on the Regional Dimension of Innovation (now called ‘Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation) managing the FP7 Programmes on Regions of Knowledge and Research Potential, building links with the Union’s Cohesion Policy, with a strong focus on developing Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3), ensuring the Commission’s link with the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe and managing actions on closing the innovation divide (new Horizon 2020 Part IV on Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation (Teaming, Twinning and ERA Chairs).  Dimitri can be reached at *email address protected*.  He can be followed on LinkedIn (http://be.linkedin.com/in/dimitricorpakis/) and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/gpstune).

Talk 2

Implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategy in Emilia-Romagna Region

The talk will describe the practical implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategy in Emilia-Romagna, Italy.  The presentation will cover the following items:

  • Research and innovation regional context.
  • Regional Smart Specialization Strategy.
  • Actions already implemented.
  • Strategy monitoring system.
  • Strategy evolution and mid-term revision.


Dr Leda Bologni

Head of Unit Strategy of ASTER Coordinator of Technology Platforms and Projects

Emilia Romagna


Dr Leda Bologni holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Robotics at the University of Bologna.  Her skills concern especially innovation management and transnational R&D and technology transfer programmes.  She is external expert, independent evaluator, and reviewer for the European Commission.  In Emilia-Romagna she was in charge for the Regional Technology Foresight exercise and Entrepreneurial Discovery Process for Regional S3.  She is responsible of the Technical Assistance Unit for regional S3 implementation and monitoring.  Leda is also national expert in Italy for S3.


Should you are interested in the complete THA webinar series, subscribe to the annual THA regular organizational membership (200€) for free access to all six titles.

Webinar video-record-recordings of the previous titles are available for THA members at the THA Repository, Webinars 2015 and Webinars 2016 webpages