Project summary

RELOS3 focuses on implementing regional Smart Specialisation Strategies in a local context by actively involving local authorities, innovation actors and companies.  This is crucial in creating innovation in EU regions.


The project has six partners from six countries: Estonia, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain (lead).  Most of the partner's specializations are connected to industrial systems, advanced manufacturing, applied industrial design and ICT specialisations.   However, other industry-related specialisations are not excluded.  

Main activities

RELOS3 is an unique opportunity to develop and contrast local RIS3 strategies. The findings will contribute to improve ERDF OPs with priority investments dedicated to RIS3 deployment and therefore to promote delivery of innovation. The partners will achieve this objective by:

  • Demonstrating the importance of the role of local authorities' involvement in the RIS3 strategies implementation.
  • Analysing the partners current situation by elaborating a detailed baseline and final study., including an evaluation survey and collection of good pratices.
  • Producing RAPs on the basis of the transnational exchange and co-produced with the support of Local Stakeholder Groups.
  • Involving the policy owners and the relevant local/regional actors and make them work together as a “local stakeholder group”.
  • Undertaking capacity building activities for policy owners, policy makers and relevant stakeholders.

Exchange and analysis

RELOS3 project will divide the interregional learning exchange and analysis in the following themes:

  • Alignment of local (supra local) economic development strategies to RIS3 strategies
  • The participation of private sector in territorial innovation operations to pave the way of RIS3 deployment
  • Promotion of cooperation between EU regions with similar or complementary smart specialisations
  • Sustainability of Quadruple Helix Collaboration (Industry, R+D and Academy, public administration and citizens) beyond RIS3 strategy 


from 1 Jan 2017
to 31 Dec 2021

Research and innovation


Lead Partner

What policy instruments does the project address?

The Catalan Smart Specialitzation Strategy (RIS3CAT) will be deployed through the OP Catalunya ERDF 2014-2020, through its Priority Axis 1.  Of particular interest are the Territorial Competiveness Specialisation Projects (PECT), led by local authorities.  These pay particular attention to public-private cooperation in order to create an innovation ecosystem.  Sabadell will focus on the “Industrial Systems” specialization.

RELOS3 will improve these projects through Sabadell by transfer of good practices in the following aspects:

  • The link between PECT and other EU subregional RIS3 projects with the same or complementary smart specialization is not foreseen under the OP. RELOS3 will propose improvements in the policy instrument in order to connect them in several fields (R+D system, businesses, local and regional authorities…).
  • ROP does not foreseen a procedure to link PECT projects (territory led) with “Communities” projects (R+D led and also programmed under the ROP), although communities are supposed to add high value to specialised ecosystems. RELOS3 will collect procedures to improve collaboration among the stakeholders within our specialised ecosystem and those belonging to Communities.
Which partners are working on this?
  • Economic Development Agency of Sabadell 

MAIN FEATURES: The Objective 4 of the PSM 2.0 involves the promotion of entrepreneurship, innovation of supply chains and manufacturing. The PSM 2.0 and its Objective 4 is strictly related to the Emilia-Romagna RIS3, in order to avoid resource leaks and to favour shared addressed, concrete and effective objective. In fact the key sectors identified at regional level by S3 reflect the Bologna's specializations and growing sectors. It aims at fostering new production concepts and new business models, giving value and strength to the development of highly innovative areas with high potential for growth and employment absorption, enhancing the strategic link with training and research, in order to strength STEM culture which characterize our territory. It fosters a public and private system of integrated services in support of the promotion of entrepreneurship, with the aim in 2020 to increase our business births by 20 percent.


REASONS TO BE IMPROVED. In order to consolidate the Bologna positioning improvement targets for PSM are:

-To improve industrial specialization, in particular advanced manufacturing, sectors with high growth potential and STEM jobs for a better matching between offer and needs of enterprises

-To promote innovation and improve the link between research and industry by categorizing the support services, through a detailed action plan, involving the major local actors. This improvement is aligned with specific objective 3 of RELOS3 project

Which partners are working on this?
  • Metropolitan City of Bologna

MAIN FEATURES: ROP for Wielkopolskie Voivodeship 2014-2020, Thematic objective 1 and 3, Priority axis 1 main features are to make tight connections between support of R&D technology and innovation with the competitiveness of the SME. It is designed in a way to facilitate management and development of regional smart specializations.


REASONS TO BE IMPROVED: The current presence of RIS3 deployment strategy in ROP priority axis 1 together with the monitoring of present and possible smart specializations could be improved:

-Wielkopolska is one of the most diverse regions in Poland. Distinct differences are noticeable at the level of sub-regions so there is a need to fit the innovation policy to the local specifics and to go deeper with EDP to subregiona/local level. One of the strategic RIS3 programmes “Proinnovative local government” aiming to deploy RIS3 and EDP at the local level, as well as building up innovation ecosystems, should have a more important reflection in ROP.

-The existing monitoring system of RIS3 and ROP could pay more attention to identify possible new smart specializations within the EPD process. The improved monitoring mechanisms thorough RELOS3 learnt experiences would be true value for the regional policy in the present and the future financial period as ROP could reward more synergetic projects that covers subregional specializations in special in the industrial area.

Which partners are working on this?

The Northern Netherlands Specialisation Strategy (RIS3NNL) will be deployed through the OP Noord the Priority Axis 1: To promote research, technological development and innovation, in concrete, priority axis 1b: Innovation 2020.

The Quadruple Helix is present within RIS3NNL.  Companies, knowledge institutions, citizens and government (at all levels) are connected and work together.  They are all geared around smarter innovation.  The Northern Netherlands wants to be a ‘smart region’ and thinks of itself as ‘Living Lab’.

In Emmen, the chemistry sector is the dominant sector, it is a Key Enabling Technology for advanced materials.  Although the strategic overview and focus on the horizon has been important for setting up, the practical implementation can sometimes be tough.  Even for big local authorities in Emmen it can be difficult to develop suitable local strategies.

Important reasons for Emmen to be involved in the project and to improvement the current situation is that currently, RIS3NNL does not foresee a procedure to link projects with funding from other programmes or initiatives (EFSI, but also crowd-funding, or cooperatives). By aligning and creating more flexible cooperation between these type projects with hybrid funding, the impact of actions will increase.

In Emmen itself, particularly the chemistry sector is important.  Developing the green chemistry abd feeding this back into the OP could be a real asset to the PI.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Local authority of Emmen

MAIN FEATURES: The priority 2 (Tartu is a city of smart entrepreneurship) of the policy instrument includes three objectives and the current project would mainly focus on two of them:Objective E6: The enterprises in Tartu are of great vitality and create high added value. Objective E7: Tartu has attractive investment environment and is the best place for starting business in Estonia. Among other issues the policy instrument notes the importance of developing networks between public and private actors which links with specific objective 2 of RELOS3 project (see sec. C3). Tartu targets concrete smart specialisation sectors selected on a national level, e.g. ICT, advanced manufacturing, and biotechnology. The main goal is to increase the region's economic growth and provide jobs by supporting a shift towards high technology sectors.


REASONS TO BE IMPROVED: It would be necessary to improve the policy instrument by:

-Defining a more systematic roadmap and mechanisms for the city government to enable and boost a desired change in the future.

-Strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region to support companies in order to increase the number of sustainable and successful companies and jobs in the fields of smart specialisation

-More result-oriented. If the business environment influenced by the city is not good enough then the local companies might move out (the number jobs would decrease) and obviously it would be nearly impossible to attract new and high-tech companies.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Tartu City Government

MAIN FEATURES: Malta Enterprise will address ERDF OP: TO1 Investing in research, technological development & innovation. IP1a Enhancing R&I infrastructure and capacities to develop R&I excellence, and promoting centres of competence, in particular those of European interest. SO1 Stimulating participation in R&D&I through the development of the necessary public infrastructure in line with the Smart Specialisation Strategy.This instrument aims to support actions to develop public infrastructure for the creation of multi-disciplinary research to enable Malta’s increased participation in research, resulting in applications for patents and increased collaborations between different disciplines as well as collaboration between academia and industry in areas of common interest in line with the smart specialisation strategy. Thematic specialisation areas mentioned in the National Research and Innovation Strategy 2020 include: maritime, aviation, health and resource-efficient buildings.



-Is necessary to assist the policy owner to improve appropriate tools for RIS3 deployment at local level as a part of the regional innovation policy

-Suggest private-public initiatives in line with the Regional Smart Specialization

-Assist other R&D projects led by public sector in the framework of Smart Specialization and create a closer collaboration network with all the relevant innovation actors in the country.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Malta Enterprise Corporation