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On 21 and 22 February 2013 at the premises of the European Commission Joint Research Centre, the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), in Seville (Spain) a group of experts from regions and universities with experience of cooperation in research and innovation debated the potential roles that universities could play to enhance their contribution in developing and implementing national/regional “Smart Specialisation Strategies” (RIS3). This in turn would help to maximise the use of EU regional funds for research and innovation activities to further economic and social objectives, and importantly, achieve greater synergy between EU structural and competitive funds (Horizon 2020).

This first EUA-JRC workshop gathered 40 experts from 18 European countries, across both EU 15 and EU 12 member states plus Norway, including university rectors and vice-rectors, and high-level representatives from regional bodies responsible for developing and implementing R&I strategies. Participants were identified jointly by EUA and JRC-IPTS in Seville. EUA nominated university experts through consultations with its “collective” members, the national rectors’ conferences, who selected experts with experience of regional cooperation to advise on good practices and guidelines for the new Smart Specialisation agenda. JRC identified their participants through consultation with the S3 Platform comprising over 130 national and regional authorities.

The role of universities in Smart Specialisation Strategies


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