The ins and outs of the Vanguard Initiative

Policy brief
By Platform

The Vanguard Initiative (for new growth through Smart Specialisation) is a network of some 30 European regions with a high-level political commitment that seeks to use their smart specialisation strategy to boost new growth through bottom-up entrepreneurial innovation and industrial renewal in European priority areas. On a policy level, the initiative strives to better position and embed the smart specialisation agenda within the relevant EU policy framework, e.g. through working with DG Regional Policy, DG Grow, and DG Research and Innovation.

This policy brief provides a review of some of the Vanguard initiatives to allow the Interreg Europe project community an insight into some of the project implementation experiences and success factors. The thematic or industrial demonstration and pilot project experiences of the Vanguard Initiative are considered to be of particular interest, especially regarding the implementation of interregional innovation projects, their approach regarding smart specialisation policy alignment, and the engagement of innovative SMEs and cluster approaches.

There are already a large number of regions that are both represented in Vanguard Initiative projects and Interreg Europe projects thus facilitating policy learning and cooperation, furthermore, some previous Interreg IVC projects have constructed and developed Interreg Europe (V) project partnerships based solely on the integration of Vanguard regions/partners.