The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission is coordinating an initiative aiming to provide scientific support to the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) focusing on four vertical priorities: environment protection, irrigation and agricultural development, navigability and energy production. As a transversal priority, the initiative also supports the development of smart specialisation strategies for innovation in the Danube Region.
The initiative was launched in close cooperation with key scientific partners of the Danube Region. Through an integrated approach relying on different flagship clusters, the JRC and its scientific partners will gather essential scientific expertise and data to help decision-makers and other stakeholders of the Danube Region to identify the policy measures and actions needed for the implementation of the EUSDR.
In this framework, the JRC intends to promote a discussion on how to best stimulate transnational cooperation and exploit synergies to strengthen smart specialisation in areas of joint potential.
Smart specialisation is a concept that can make a valuable contribution to the integrated approach which macro-regional strategies such as the EUSDR rely on, in the sense that it can stimulate the constructive use of regional diversity by avoiding uniformity and duplication in regional investment goals as well as help develop critical mass to tackle major common challenges.
In this context, the flagship activity proposed by the JRC will use the Danube Region as a pilot area to study and foster the integration and coordination of regional or national research and innovation strategies for Smart Specialisation at macro-regional level. This seminar was the kick-off event of the work outlined above.
The objective of the event was to:
(i) discuss the main characteristics of the RIS3 concept and, in particular, the importance of the transnational dimension and the need for a Reference data infrastructure
(ii) present the draft national RIS3 in a number of Danube countries and potential transnational projects
(iii) draw conclusions on concrete cooperation opportunities and work to be done with regard to stimulating transnational cooperation on areas of smart specialisation in the framework of the EUSDR
(iv) discuss ways JRC can further support.
The outcome of the seminar helped further define the activities which will be undertaken to support the development of RIS3 in the Danube Region and to tailor the approach adopted to the needs of EUSDR macro-regional strategy. Moreover, the seminar contributed to the preparation of the session ‘Towards a smartly specialised and innovative Danube Region’ of 16 May 2013 high-level event to be organised in Bratislava (SK).