BRUSSELS, June 23-24, 2011
The European regions and cities are being called on to make a decisive contribution to the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth objectives of Europe 2020. Drawing on the recent Commission communications on smart and sustainable growth, this year’s edition of the Regions for Economic Change conference presented and discussed a range of key tools and networks and highlighted excellent projects and initiatives from cities and regions to stimulate policy learning and demonstrate the key contribution of regional policy to economic modernisation and the Europe 2020 goals.
The event was targeted, as in previous years, to Structural Funds managers and to national, regional and local policy-makers, authorities and their professional intermediaries, including their Brussels-based representatives and networks.
Regional Policy Directorate-General
To achieve smart growth we need to mobilize and maximize the innovation capacity of every region. This is valid for all types of regions: Those that are at the cutting edge of science and competing in global high-tech markets as well as those trailing behind. These latter regions very often have yet to exploit all their opportunities for knowledge based activities and build up their innovation potential, often by adapting existing general purpose technologies driving incremental innovation.
Smart specialization combines a place-based approach with an innovation system logic and a strong outward orientation towards global value chains and their development. Smart specialization is about making the right strategic choices based on hard evidence and consensus-driven processes of stakeholder involvement through what has been called an “entrepreneurial discovery process”. Smart is about making the best possible of the European Research and Innovation area, avoiding duplication and exploiting synergies and cooperation. Smart is also making tough policy choices by focusing scarce public resources in times of austerity.