In 2014-2021, EUSBSR PA INNO has prioritised Smart Specialisation to ensure that innovation measures are designed to better meet the local and subregional level need of actions. The same regional/S3 focus continues in EU 2021-2027, and is relevant in all three priority innovation actions/themes of the new EUSBSR Action Plan (2021): Challenge-driven innovation; Digital Innovation and transformation; Co-creative innovation.

Supported by EUSBSR PA INNO, BSR sub-regions have been actively developing their S3 in line with the EU Green Deal and with increasing focus on interregional cooperation. Various EUSBSR S3 projects have facilitated the building of long-term strategic innovation cooperation and partnerships that can eventually lead to joint investments, as well as provided insights and tools for regions to develop their smart specialization strategies for sustainability (S4), with a strong focus on inclusive sustainability, green and digital transition. Regions have an important role in strengthening the commitment of all actors in BSR innovation ecosystems, including the business sector, to move forward with selected strategic direction within interregional cooperation.

The flagship EUSBSR PA INNO platform project on S3, ‘BSR S3 Ecosystem’ (Interreg Baltic Sea Region, 2018-2022) was aligning various EUSBSR S3 initiatives to better steer investments across BSR. The platform was built on the experiences of Interreg BSR funded EUSBSR S3 projects LARS, BSR Stars S3, Smart-up BSR and GoSmart BSR/ GoSmart&Excel BSR, as well as S34 Growth, BIOREGIO, ClusterFy and TraCS3, funded by Interreg Europe. BSR S3 Ecosystem project was led by Region Västerbotten.

Experiences and results of the BSR S3 Ecosystem platform project, offer valuable tools and guidance for the effective and coordinated utilisation of EU 2021-2027 opportunities in BSR sub-regions, including utilisation of the new EU instrument for interregional innovation investments (I3). Recommendations and results of BSR S3 Ecosystem project, materialized as ‘BSR Innovation Hub’, as a source of strategic advice and support for the macro-region’s innovation community, which also constitute a basis for the EUSBSR PA INNO’s S3 agenda and actions from 2022 onwards, and as related BSR S3 Ecosystem based consortia/proposal selected to take part in the Partnership for Regional Innovation (PRI) Pilot Action co-sponsored by the EC’s Joint Research Centre and the EU Committee of the Regions. The pilot (2022-2023) is led by Region Västerbotten, and supported by EUSBSR PA Innovation and CPMR Baltic Sea Commission.

The European Commission’s Communication on the New Innovation Agenda of July 2022 contains five Flagship actions to upgrade the EU’s innovation performance, in the context of significant global challenges. One of these Flagships is dedicated to strengthening European Innovation Ecosystems by creating regional innovation valleys. The learning and evidence from the BSR S3 Ecosystem project and the core objectives of the BSR Partnership for Regional Innovation (PRI) pilot aim to facilitate the EUSBSR/MRS contribution to the EU’s new Innovation Valley architecture: Exploring how S3 can be better aligned to SDG and Green Deal objectives, providing new tools and upgrading capacity across BSR territories to realise these objectives.

Upgraded support and cooperation infrastructures are needed, including strategic connections to wider EU ‘pathways’ and ‘valleys’, to join up efforts across EU value chains linked to twin transitions. Cross macro-regional cooperation (linked to S3 alignment) is a very important opportunity and policy framework in this.

Partnerships for Regional Innovation

BSR S3 Ecosystem 


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