Five Thematic Working groups have been started by Umbria Region to involve entrepreneurs and research/academic sector in the RIS3 implementing process
Umbria Region has a strong tradition in engaging the economic and social level in the process of policies development, promoting and enhancing participation at the programming function and the identification of the objectives and priorities to pursue. Within this framework, a specific governance model has been established with the aim of informing the choices at the basis of the Research and Innovation regional strategy for Smart Specialisation
The governance of RIS3 planning-implementing-evaluating-reviewing process is articulated into three levels:
- Steering Group, coordinated by Regional Administration with participation of representatives of University, Chambers of Commerce, Economic Sectors, Trade Associations
- Management Team, composed by the Managing Authority of ROP ERDF and external Experts
- Thematic Working Groups, one for each priority identified (Agro-food, Energy, Green Chemistry, Life Sciences, Smart Factory/ Aerospace industry) and composed by entrepreneurs and representatives of research and academic sector.
The involvement of local entrepreneurs in the five TWG activated was made according to their belonging to National and Regional Technology Clusters referring to the specific RIS3 priority areas identified.
The entrepreneurs involved also act a gate-keeper in their chain, disseminating information to other local entrepreneurs and by pulling them into the implementation of RIS3.
The resources required to set up and to run the practice are essentially human resources. In details: 2 Regional Administration internal people for coordination and 2 external experts for technical support to groups activities.
Evidence of success
TWG added value is linked to the opportunity for regional government:
- to verify the specific research trajectories identified with reference to RIS3 priorities and to intercept new ones
- to evaluate and reviewing RIS3 priorities
- to collect feedback about Calls in order to remove barriers and to promote the access
- to actively involve main actors in regional economic development
- to support networking among companies and between companies and the research/academic sector
According with the need to specialize investments, it was not easy to focus on specific priorities which necessary exclude other economic sectors operating in the territory. Regarding this, the involvement of entrepreneurs has represented an obstacle and a facilitating factor at the same time
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice of Thematic Working Groups for EDP (entrepreneurial development process) integration in RIS3 is potentially easy to transfer to other regions.
Key success factors for transferring can be considered:
- the development of a RIS3 governance model, including different levels of coordination and within witch Thematic Working Groups are embedded;
- the “selection” of entrepreneurs to be involved, on the basis of criteria clearly linked to the strategic priorities identified;
- good level of innovation management skills on the part of regional coordinators;
- autonomy of the regional administration in terms of programming and financing leves control for regional development;
- vitality of academic, scientific and entrepreneurial infrastructure pushing and demanding for active participation;
- culture of participation in policy cycle, social capital, expected models of civic behaviour