Smart Specialisation: Challenges and Opportunities for Lagging Regions

Regional Polarisation and Unequal Development in CEE: Challenges for Innovative Place-based Policies

Smart Specialisation: Challenges and Opportunities for Lagging Regions

Session organiser(s)

Cluj IT Cluster, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (prof. Stelian Brad)

Special Session Speaker: Dominique Foray, Full Professor of Economics and Management of Innovation at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Author of Smart Specialisation. Opportunities and Challenges for Regional Innovation Policy

Globalisation and tremendous proliferation of global value chains have made regions of the world more interdependent, but in the same time weaker and less resilient to the global flows of capital, production and trade. However, lagging regions are much more vulnerable and captive in this global game than the leading ones. In this evolving reality, a paradigm shift is required for shaping regional strategies of economic competitiveness and sustainable growth. Smart specialization is about designing and executing disruptive vertical innovation policies to drive the structural transformation of the most representative economic sectors in a region such as to increase and enhance its relevance in the global economy and to support its economic growth. As innovation plays a crucial role in the equation of regional economic growth and prosperity, the concept of smart specialisation and the associated regional strategies are seen as powerful and effective means to still keep regions as active players and important influencers in the complex, highly non-linear and adaptive global economic game. Despite the expected positive potential of this new strategic paradigm, less developed regions may find difficulties to translate the concept of smart specialisation into practice and to set up highly effective policies in specialising regional innovation. This special session welcomes researches that reveal challenges in setting up and executing effective smart specialisation strategies in lagging regions, provide new insights for smart specializing regional innovations, as well as highlight opportunities and propose valuable patterns of evolution, models and mechanisms that would reduce the gap in competitiveness between lagging and leading regions by means of differentiated and customized innovations that are strongly embedded in the regional economic ecosystem.

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