“Beyond EDP” Umbria Region Peer Review was held on 14th - 15th of November 2018 with a large involvement of Umbria RIS3 Stakeholders and a strong participation by the project partners. During the meeting and visits, some good practices in terms of research and innovation (Life Sciences Cluster, Aerospace Cluster, 3A Agro-Food Technology Park and Agrifood Cluster) have been presented and discussed. At the end of the two days, feedbacks and suggestions by partners have been collected, starting from the consideration of some critical points identified by the Region itself. In particular, Some improvements related to the governance model adopted by the Region, organised on three levels of coordination (Steering Group, Management Team and Thematic Working Groups), that is considered a good practice for EDP into RIS3 have been highlighted.

In general, the better integration of the entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP) in the different phases of RIS3 requires the development of skills both from the public administration (an effective interaction with the innovation system requires competencies so diversified and specialized that it is very difficult to find all them within a regional administration) and from the stakeholders involved (in Italy and certainly in Umbria, companies are mostly too small to be able to invest in R&I and investing in the application of the results of innovation that comes from universities and research bodies requires the ability of a strong preliminary interaction between them). In addition, thanks to the suggestions from our Peer Reviewers, there is now more awareness that: developing a specific context (governance system) and using specific tools (meetings, surveys, working groups) for listening and collecting proposals, expectations and feedback from stakeholders, although important and useful, is not enough to ensure their active contribution and full involvement in RIS3 development. It would be also necessary to improve the Stakeholders competences to actively contribute to the design, implementation, evaluation and review of strategies for innovation. In particular, through interventions aimed at:

  • continually ensuring the access by stakeholders to the sharing of data, results and knowledge about innovation in specific areas of interest;
  • stimulating (also through specific techniques to facilitate communication and creativity in the working groups) the use by stakeholders of the shared knowledge, data and results and the elaboration of own contributions to the regional innovation strategy;
  • developing and consolidating relationships of openness and mutual trust among the different stakeholders involved (in particular, between companies and universities/research centers).

For these reasons, the Action Plan developed by Umbria Region at the end of the exchange and comparison phase among project partners aims mainly at strengthening the role that the Thematic working groups (composed of companies, universities and research institutes) can play in the RIS3 governance system and at improving their attitude and ability to actively contribute in the different phases of RIS3 planning-implementing-evaluating- reviewing process.