The next six months will be an important period for policy makers, the university sector and many other stakeholders engaged in Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3). With the ongoing preparations for the EU’s 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework, the European Workshop on Smart Specialisation, entitled “Universities as Regional Lead Institutions”, held under the auspices of the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council, provided an opportunity to take stock of past achievements and identify emerging priorities for building successful European innovation ecosystems in the post-2020 period.
To maximise the effectiveness of Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) in developing regional innovation ecosystems, it is important to fully capitalise on tangible and intangible assets that universities offer for the benefit of culture, society and the economy of their regions.
Universities are uniquely placed to support regional development across the linked domains of knowledge generation, innovation and education and European universities endorse the concept of Smart Specialisation as a strategic foundation for regional development. Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) are proving most effective where there is strong co-operation between government, enterprise and universities working together at both strategic and practical levels to strengthen regional innovation.