MOOC on Smart Specialisation starting 15.01.2018


COURSE START mid-January 2018


COURSE FEE € 350 / € 250*


LANGUAGES English (French Handouts available)



The course will be directed and supervised by Dominique Foray, who was the creator of the concept and was then deeply involved in European smart specialisation policy between 2009 and 2013 as well as Martin Eichler, chief economist at BAK Economics (BAK), who is involved in developing indicators to support regions in terms of regional benchmarking and economic assessment.

The smart specialisation concept, originally developed by D. Foray (EPFL), P. David (Stanford) and B. Hall (Berkeley) within the framework of a European Commission Expert Group, involves both a general innovation policy concept and a method designed to operationalize this concept. This method enables regions to design a regional innovation policy to encourage the emergence and growth of innovation microsystems in the selected sectors. This concept and its concrete developments have had an immense impact in Europe and then beyond after the European Council’s decision to adopt smart specialisation as an essential principle of European regional policies.

Although the smart specialisation approach and method are now well known in Europe (at least the general principles), they still remain an unknown quantity elsewhere. And yet this approach has huge potential - especially in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia - to assist policymakers, experts and public agencies in structuring their policy and development programme. This is why, by means of the smart specialisation concept and approach, this course will address not only innovation policy issues in developed countries but also development by innovation issues and structural change in the least developed countries.

The course aims to offer an overview of the concept and concrete methods allowing the design and application of a smart specialisation strategy on the regional (or national) scale. It will combine formal presentations, case studies carried out in the field, as well as first-hand accounts.


This course is especially intended for public policymakers on the regional, national and international levels, in Europe, North America and Asia. It is also meant for those responsible for development policies, in Africa or South America for example. It is then targeted at experts and analysts who develop consulting services in this domain. And finally it is for Master and PhD students and researchers in the fields of economics and innovation and economic policy and spatial and regional policy.


The MOOC is composed of five modules, each comprising four to five units (of approximately 10 minutes each). The course will last twelve weeks. At the end of each module, an evaluation is proposed. This will be essentially based on the analysis of regional cases, experienced or observed by participants. Policymakers and experts will be invited to present and share cases they have managed themselves or in which they have participated. Students and researchers will be invited to propose cases identified in the course of their research work. Participants will receive an Attestation of Attendance. The document will only be received, if the participant successfully passes the course (at least 80% of the total 100 points). Successful participants also receive a document specifying the score and stating what knowledge they acquired during the course; and a table with each grade from the module assignments (max. 9 points each module) and the final assignment (max. 64 points).


We will offer a substantial reduction for each course participant who is member of your network related to the field of smart specialisation. In order to get a discount of € 100 per registration we would like to get you on board to help us diffuse the information about the MOOC on Designing Smart Specialisation Strategies.

You are of great support if you:

To be eligible to the discount please send us a proof of the above activities and a list of course participants the discount should be granted to (first name, last name & e-mail address).
We would be delighted to count on your help and look forward to hearing from you.

All content copyright © Regional Studies Association 2017. Registered charity number 1084165.