all projects

Innovation strategies of EU regions

Smart specialisation

Client

European Commission

Year

2021


Together with CSIL Milano and numerous regional experts, Prognos analysed the prioritisation of smart specialisation in the EU between 2014 and 2020. The strategies were intended to be based as much as possible on the strengths of the respective region. They were also supposed to incorporate new technological trends in order to generate future competitive advantages. The study evaluates the prioritisation approaches in all available S3 strategies in the EU with regard to innovation capabilities and their translation into actual projects. A complex and multi-layered picture emerged. To increase the effectiveness of smart specialisation, improvements are needed.

Key priorities are Agrofood & Bioeconomy, ICT & Industry 4.0, Health & Life Sciences and other technology-oriented topics.

The priority areas of S3 strategies in the EU are largely based on objective, data-driven identification processes. While these processes are appreciated by stakeholders, there is room for improvement in terms of continuous dialogue and data analysis at a granular level. The individual EU member states or regions have therefore defined a wide range of priority areas. Most of them focus on R&D and rather technology-oriented topics. In most cases, projects funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) have been linked to S3 priority areas. The volume of investment in the S3 priority areas was around 20 billion euros. This suggests that the prioritisation approach in the funding procedures was mostly effectively implemented. However, over 25% of the S3 strategies do not match well with the innovation potential of the respective region.

A comparison of the S3 priority areas with the Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS) and European Quality of Government Index (EQG) reveals some surprising results: Some inherently weak regions, with low innovation potential and institutional capacity, do relatively well in the S3 areas. There may be three reasons for this: a comparatively high level of funding, a stronger orientation towards the S3 rules or less top-down policy. Of the highly developed regions and countries that perform strongly in RIS and EQG, some performed worse in the S3 areas.  Among other things, this could be due to relatively low funding.

Overall, however, it can be noted that the nationwide S3 strategies of 22 countries in the EU are working well. The study describes in detail the development of S3 strategies and the prioritisation approaches used within the strategies.

Policy recommendations: exploit regional innovation strengths

"We recommend more careful identification of priority areas in the future, better use of regional innovation strengths in these areas and better evaluation of the chosen strategy goals," says Prognos project manager Dr Jan-Philipp Kramer. Details on how this could be done are provided in the study.

S3 Scoreboard 2021: Evaluation of all 185 smart specialisation strategies by means of new methodology

For the first time, the study authors developed an "S3 Scoreboard" as a comparative assessment of all 185 smart specialisation strategies in the EU Member States and regions. The basis is a novel methodology based on AI-supported matching analyses and exclusive data.  

The S3 Scoreboard covers 163 regions in 28 EU countries. In addition, S3 strategies at country level, such as in Malta, Luxembourg or Cyprus, are included. The scoreboard provides a detailed breakdown

•    of performance groups with contextual data,
•    including the share of the ERDF budget associated with S3 priority areas,
•    the continuity of the so-called Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) or
•    the selection criteria for S3-related calls for proposals under the ERDF 2014-2020.

Based on these, the maturity of S3 strategies across the EU can be analysed and compared now and in the future.

Overall, the S3 scoreboard 2021 shows a strong variation that reflects the different starting points for smart specialisation in terms of the strength of the research and innovation system, the level of available resources compared to the national resources and the level of aid intensity.
Many S3 leaders are found in less developed regions, while the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, or some German, French and more developed Spanish regions show potential for optimisation in their S3 strategies. The 22 national S3 strategies in the EU perform relatively well.

Dr Jan-Philipp Kramer first presented the results of the analysis at an online event organised by the European Commission on 2 September 2021. Afterwards, the results and their implications for EU policy were discussed together with Roman Arjona (Head of Unit, Directorate General Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs), Magda de Carli (Head of Unit, Directorate General Research and Development) and Pierre-Alex Balland (Utrecht University).

Read the study (Website European Commission)

Authors: Dr Jan-Philipp Kramer, Dr Georg Klose, Janosch Nellen, Janis Neufeld, Neysan Khabirpour, Lennart Galdiga, Moritz Glettenberg, Johanna Thierstein (all Prognos);  

Emanuela Sirtori, Dr Francesca Guadagno, Dr Julie Pellegrin, Alessandra Caputo, Dr
Francesco Giffoni (all CSIL)

Our work on this topic

Take a look at our latest projects and activities.

Federal Report on Research and Innovation 2024

2024
| Project

In the 2024 Federal Research and Innovation Report (BuFi), the Federal Government presents their current research and innovation policy goals and measures. Once again, Prognos assisted the BMBF in the preparation of the report.

Germany: Industry sectors put to the test

2024
| Expertise

Mechanical engineering, the automotive industry, pharmaceuticals: In which sectors is Germany still a leader? On behalf of the Handelsblatt, we examined how successfully Germany is holding its own against its international competitors.

Federal Research and Innovation Report

ongoing
| Project

The Federal Government regularly presents their current research and innovation policy goals and measures in the Federal Research and Innovation Report. Prognos assists the BMBF in the preparation of the report.

Realignment of European structural funds

ongoing
| Project

Prognos and partners are developing conclusions for the further development of the European structural funds after 2027 by integrating relevant stakeholders.

Hybrid seminar on cohesion policy support for RTDI

| Event

Prognos and its partners are organising a hybrid seminar on the evaluation of cohesion policy support for research, technological development and innovation (RTDI).

Training On The Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) & Governance Of Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3)

-
| Event

Dr Jan-Philipp Kramer will be a speaker on the opening panel on "The role of the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) in smart specialisation" and will give input on the positioning of the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process in politics and on EDP-related communication in two further presentations.

Clusters meet Regions

-
| Event

As part of our work for the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP), Dr Jan-Philipp Kramer presents an input paper on the cluster landscape of Lombardy, outlining important considerations for the future development of the region.

Trend Report 2024: Germany on its path to digital administration - an update

2024
| Project

Where does Germany stand on its path to digital administration? The Trendreport 2024 gives an update and recommendations for the digitalisation of the public administration system.

Electromobility standards

2024
| Project

The electromobility of the future will interact with other intelligent systems. But for this to be possible digital technologies will have to be standardised. The study shows in which areas standardisation is particularly relevant and how standards are established.

Innovations in domestic care

ongoing
| Project

A skilled worker shortage and increased numbers of people requiring care: domestic care is facing major challenges. Prognos is evaluates the implementation of the Buurtzorg approach, an innovative community care model, for the Saxon State Ministry for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion.

Green light for the Rhineland-Palatinate Innovation Agency

2023
| Project

The Rhineland-Palatinate Innovation Agency was co-developed by Prognos in 2022. Prognos has continued to support the innovation agency throughout the start of its operational work.

Value added of German pharmaceutical exports

2023
| Project

Compared to other export sectors, German pharmaceutical exports show above-average levels of innovation and value-added intensity. However, the industry is falling behind in the global re-search competition. This is shown by a new study commissioned by Roche.

Dossier: The role of clusters in regional transformation processes

2023
| Project update

The dossier, which was created as part of the NRW.innovativ competence centre, highlights the role that cluster organisations play in the digital and green transformation in NRW.

The potential of smart specialisation strategies

2023
| Project

In collaboration with Prof. Dominique Foray, Prognos compiled a policy brief identifying the potential of smart specialisation strategies for driving forward structural transformation.

Green Tech: Digital technologies and sustainability

ongoing
| Project

The Federal Ministry of Economics promotes digital technologies that drive forward the economy’s green transformation. Together with partners, we are responsible for the accompanying research.

Evaluation of the Eurostars-2 funding programme

ongoing
| Project

Eurostars supports cross-border research cooperation of SMEs in Europe. On behalf of the BMBF, Prognos analyses the effectiveness of the Eurostars-2 programme at national level.

Clusters as boosters of regional development in Skåne

2023
| Project

Clusters can function as a stimulus for innovation in industrial ecosystems. This is shown by a European Union’s European Cluster Collaboration Platform impulse paper that uses the Swedish coastal region of Skåne as a case study.

Evaluation of the federal grants to GTAI

2022
| Project

The aim of Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) is to promote German foreign trade. Prognos investigated whether they are using their budget effectively.

Purpose Economy model

2023
| Project

Could purpose become the model for business and society? We investigated this as part of our work for the Future Office and compared it with other scenarios.

Evaluation of Eurostars-2, the European SME support programme

2023
| Project

On behalf of the EU Commission, Prognos and its partners examined the Eurostars-2 SME fund-ing programme as part of the evaluation study of the European Framework Programmes Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe.

Accompanying research on the FONA strategy

ongoing
| Project

The Research for Sustainability (FONA) funding programme is intended to contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Will this target be achieved and which methods can be used to measure this? We investigate this together with partners for the BMBF.

Webinar: Monitoring the Transition to Circular Economy

| Event

Jannis Lambert and Tim Bichlmeier talk about monitoring concepts for the Circular Economy and present a self-assessment tool.

International Conference: Smart Specialisation

| Event

Dr Jan-Philipp Kramer takes part in a panel discussion on Intelligent Specialisation Strategies.

European Cluster Conference 2022

| Event

Dr Jan-Philipp Kramer and Lennart Galdiga inform in Prague about the competence centre "NRW.innovativ" and represent the European Cluster Collaboration Platform.

The future of trust in digital worlds

2022
| Project

The internet is creating new forms of interaction that, in order to function, require our trust. Do we put our trust in technology or people? A BMBF Future Office study provides answers.

Findings from the cluster dialogues: The NRW cluster panorama

2022
| Project update

The NRW Cluster Panorama defines five subject areas in which the greatest potential for the innovation ecosystem in NRW lies.

Triple Helix Conference

| Event

Dr. Jan-Philipp Kramer presents the study "Prioritisation in Smart Specialisation Strategies in the EU" at the 20th Triple Helix Conference.

Evaluation of the EU Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programmes

ongoing
| Project

Through the Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programmes, the EU Commission promotes research and innovation in Europe. Prognos evaluates parts of the funding programs.

Accompanying the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative

ongoing
| Project

The CCRI focuses on the implementation of a circular economy in European cities and regions. Prognos is supporting the initiative as a project partner in the associated Coordination and Support Office.

Shifting the boundaries of technology and biology

2022
| Project

Artificial organs or humanoid robots? The BMBF Future Office investigated how the combination of biological and technological systems could develop in the future.

Saarland StrategyPlus 2021-2023

2022
| Project

On behalf of the Saarland State Chancellery, we have assisted with the update of the Saarland innovation strategy and have prepared the strategy paper, “StrategyPlus 2021–2023".

Artificial intelligence potential for SMEs in Rhineland-Palatinate

2022
| Project

The challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence for companies in Rhineland-Palatinate. A study commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture.

European Regional Development Fund: Evaluation of RTD-Investments

2021
| Project

Evaluation of investments in Research & Technological Development infrastructures and activities supported by the ERDF from 2007 to 2013.

Cluster Initiatives Follow-up

2021
| Project

For the European Commission, we evaluated the impact of the EU cluster initiatives

The NRW.innovativ competence centre

ongoing
| Project

The industrial transformation of North Rhine-Westphalia will require innovative measures. The Ministry of Economic Affairs commissioned Prognos and partners to set up an innovation competence centre.

Evaluation of the “Photonics Research Germany” programme

2021
| Project

Photonics is considered a key technology. The programme promotes research in this area and facilitates stakeholder networking. We evaluated the programme on behalf of the BMBF.

Digital State trend report

ongoing
| Project

Since 2016, Prognos’ management consulting team has been helping compile the Digital State trend report in cooperation with Behörden Spiegel. Each year the report is devoted to another forward-looking trend topic for public administration.

How effective are EU support programs for innovation in SMEs?

2021
| Project

The EU offers a wide range of innovation support for SMEs. Together with partners, Prognos investigated the extent to which the EU funding programs achieve their goals.

Evaluation of the cluster initiatives

2021
| Project

For the EU Commission, we evaluate the EU cluster programmes together with CSES and IDEA Consulting Group.

Evaluation of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

ongoing
| Project

On behalf of the EU Commission, Prognos is working with partners to examine the impact of the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe.

Study on smart specialisation in Germany

2020
| Project

Prognos determined the current implementation status of the Regional Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) in Germany for the EU Commission.

Funding for Research Development and Innovation

2020
| Project

State financial aid for R&D investments increased between 2014 and 2018. The evaluation investigates a connection with the simplification of the state aid regulations.

Evaluation of the BMBF Framework Programmes FONA

2020
| Project

Together with Fraunhofer ISI, Prognos has evaluated the framework programs for the promotion of research into sustainable development (FONA).

Gradual increase of the R&D R&D ratio up to 3.5% of GDP

2019
| Project

On behalf of the BMBF, Prognos calculated, among other things, the macroeconomic effects of higher spending on research and development.

Digital transformation in the workplace of the European Chemicals Sector

2019
| Project

As part of a social partnership project for the ECEG and industriAll European Trade Union, the study examines the effects of innovation and digital transformation on the workplace in the chemical industry on a Europe-wide scale.

Benefits & effects of COST for Germany

2019
| Project

COST promotes networking activities. An important effect of COST: the cooperation and harmonisation of European research.

Automated driving spreads only slowly

2018
| Project

Automated driving will not be a mass phenomenon in the foreseeable future. This is the result of a study by Prognos AG on behalf of ADAC e.V.

Fields of action for lignite regions

2018
| Project

How can structural change in lignite mining areas succeed? A Prognos study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economics reveals possible approaches and instruments.

Digitization Compass 2018

2018
| Project

The Prognos/index Digitization Compass – the 5-Star-Rating regarding the digitization of regions in Germany.

About us

Prognos – Providing Orientation.

Prognos is one of the oldest economic research centres in Europe. Founded at the University of Basel, Prognos experts have been conducting research for a wide range of clients from the public and private sectors since 1959 – politically independent, scientifically sound.

Learn more