Title: Smart specialisation in regions with less-developed research and innovation systems: A changing role for universities?
Citation: ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING C - POLITICS AND SPACE vol. 36 no. 2 p. 219-238
Publication Year: 2018
JRC N°: JRC106706
ISSN: 2399-6544
URI: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2399654417705137
DOI: 10.1177/2399654417705137
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Universities and other knowledge institutions have quickly come to be seen as central to smart specialisation. However, their exact role in Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation has yet to receive much critical attention in the academic literature. This is particularly notable as defining features of smart specialisation – such as the entrepreneurial dynamic of the strategy-formation process, and differentiated nature of the goals for strategies in regions with varying research and innovation capabilities – represent challenges to the notion that public research organisations should be drivers of smart specialisation in all regions. This paper articulates these conceptual tensions and then explores how they are unfolding in practice with particular reference to regions with less-developed research and innovation systems. The empirical material is drawn from a European-wide survey of institutional factors affecting the implementation of Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation and two regional case studies from Central and Eastern Europe. Overall the paper reveals a multifaceted picture of still emerging (and potentially conflicting) dynamics around the introduction of smart specialisation that have the potential to reconfigure the role of universities in regional innovation systems in Europe.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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