SMARTER Conference

Event date
December 9, 2020 - December 11, 2005
Short description

Conference on Smart Specialisation and Territorial Development: Connecting grand societal challenges with local goals in place-based innovation policy, co-organised by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and RSA Europe



Increasingly, innovation policies are framed around grand societal challenges and sustainable transformation. More traditional objectives of productivity enhancement, job creation and international competitiveness are accompanied by the search for solutions to environmental and social needs in line with the European Green Deal priority and the accomplishments of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, to be achieved through the mobilisation of science, technology and innovation. This transformation is also gaining momentum in local and regional policy making, raising a number of issues in relation to the capacity of place-based industrial innovation policies to meet these goals. What are the implications of this shift for place-based policy and instruments? What does the alignment of solutions to social and environmental problems with more traditional growth objectives imply? How can potential contradictions between different goals and dimensions (social, environmental and economic) be resolved?  Can we expect territorial policies to deliver on broad societal challenges, by providing solutions to those needs that are locally relevant?

At the time of writing, a terrible pandemic is sweeping the planet causing dramatic health, social and economic consequences. We need coordinated policy initiatives at international, national and regional level to mitigate the COVID-19 economic crisis and promote a swift recovery. How can place-based policies play a role in tackling the severe socio-economic impacts of COVID-19? How can they help territories discover new opportunities for more sustainable and inclusive economies?

This conference is a forum for debating those issues.

Smart Specialisation provides a unique entry point for such debate. Smart Specialisation is a place-based EU policy promoting economic transformation by designing targeted investment in research and innovation. Building on a growing interest in this policy, the main principles and mechanisms of Smart Specialisation are travelling fast, attracting attention outside the European Union. At the same time, the Smart Specialisation approach is evolving, incorporating evidence on what worked what did not, embracing a larger policy scope than research and innovation and enriching its policy toolbox.

The conference will provide a comprehensive picture of the Smart Specialisation policy experience, including an evaluation of its results and an account of its recent developments both conceptually and empirically. Particular attention will be given to the intervention logic, implementation challenges and ways to address them, as well as methodologies for monitoring and evaluation.

The conference also offers an opportunity to discuss and compare different territorial development approaches, exploring how they engage with the European Commission's priorities for 2019-2014 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We welcome contributions on the local dimension of grand societal challenges.

The conference offers to a limited number of participants from academia, territorial authorities and institutions a unique opportunity to discuss and define the scope and main avenues for future research and policy making, and to address the challenges confronting policy makers and practitioners. In addition to academic submissions, papers by practitioners or co-authored by academics and practitioners are welcome.

Conference also organises Call for Papers and Call for special session proposals, see the special Call website below.


Geographical focus
  • Europe
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
Event type
  • Conference in EU/international

Entry created by Admin on April 15, 2020
Modified on April 15, 2020