Use of EDP to elaborate the Regional Specialisation Pattern as the basis for the selection of the RIS3 thematic priorities.
The elaboration of the Regional Research & Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) of Castilla y León 2014-20 required the setting of thematic priorities on which the regional public support should focus. The Regional Specialisation Pattern provided an objective basis for the selection of the priorities.
The Pattern has 3 dimensions (economic, scientific & technological). Its elaboration was based on the analysis of quantitative data obtained from statistical sources, which led to the identification of main economic macro-activities, scientific excellent areas and relevant groups of technologies. After that, the groups of technologies were analysed and fine-tuned according to the opinions of experts from Industry, Academia and technology centres gathered in working groups for each technology group. Finally, the definite Specialisation Areas are those where there is a significant correlation amongst all 3 dimensions.
The results of the Specialisation Pattern were contrasted by a group of stakeholders belonging to the triple helix (universities, business organisations, relevant companies and the regional administration), in order to make sure that no important information was missing, especially from a qualitative point of view.
After that, the RIS3 thematic priorities were selected with political criteria, but based on the Regional Specialisation Pattern.
It was elaborated by an external consultant, directed by 2 people at the Government. It took 6 months, but not full time. The cost can be estimated in approximately € 30.000, because it was part of a larger contract for the elaboration of the RIS3.
Evidence of success
The Regional Specialisation Pattern was established according to this methodology, and was accepted with a broad consensus. It has actually been the basis for the political selection of the RIS3 thematic priorities, so it’s been helpful.
The RIS3 intermediate evaluation has considered the Specialisation Pattern to be valid, even if its methodology has been slightly modified to take more into consideration the time dimension, and to favour excellence and leadership in the scientific dimension.
The main challenges were the definition of the methodology (the identification of the relevant factors to be considered) and the availability of information. After the pattern, the selection of priorities has always been hard because there will always be someone excluded.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Specialisation Pattern provides an objective basis for the selection of priorities, as it gives a picture of what is important for the region taking into account its 3 dimensions (economic, scientific & technological). Such political decisions are now compulsory for all regions in the ERDF operational programmes, since RIS3 are ex-ante conditions for the OP approval.
Besides, the elaboration methodology is based mainly on official statistical information not specifically tailor-made for our region; however, such information is not always available for all regions, so it might be a factor hampering the transferability.
The participation of stakeholders is necessary to add a qualitative view to the quantitative analysis of statistical data. Obviously, the composition of the working groups must be adapted to each region, selecting the relevant actors.
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