GoSmart BSR Policy Dialogue in Brussels

To strengthen smart specialisation by fostering interregional cooperation is one of the main goals of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region (BSR) project “GoSmart BSR”. In order to discuss how S3 strategies could be put on a macro-regional level, the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) organized a Policy Dialogue in Brussels in cooperation with the City of Hamburg. More than 30 stakeholders from politics, industry and science gathered on Feb 20th, 2019 at the Hanse-Office. A key focus of the debate addressed the question how interregional collaboration in S3 can open up new business opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The opening keynotes addressed problems in SME internationalisation and potentials for transnational cooperation in S3. In his speech, Janos Schmied (Programme Officer at the European Commission, DG Grow) emphasised the importance of supporting companies to find new collaborators and to develop a global mind set.

During the following panel discussion Thomas Jensen (South Denmark European Office), Jerker Johnson (Regional Council of Ostrobothnia), Tanja Woronowicz (Innovation Capability Center - TZI University Bremen) and Isabel Sünner (HWWI) gave some insights into their current S3 projects. Isabel Sünner introduced the methodological tool developed by the GoSmart project. The tool allows to analyse regional S3s in a comparative perspective and to identify common priorities for interregional collaboration based on solid statistical analyses. After a successful pilot phase, it is basically ready to be applied in any group of regions. The BSR could be a good test bed for further validating the tool. Subsequently, the panellists exchanged experience on how entrepreneurial discovery processes can be best organized in the regions as well as on a macro-regional level. The aim is to establish a frequent bottom-up stakeholder dialogue on S3 implementation.

A second "political" panel concluded by addressing needs for further actions. Panellists were Wioletta Dąbrowska (Director of Regional Development Department, Podlaskie Marshal Office), Thomas Jacob (Senate Chancellery, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg), Krista Taipale (Region of Kymenlaakso, Finland and Head of Brussels Office), Esa Kokkonen (Director of the Baltic Institute of Finland and Coordinator of PA Innovation of the EUBSR), Marta Marin (ERRIN and Smart Specialisation Working Group Leader), Wieslaw Urban, (Bialystok University of Technology and Lead Partner of the "GoSmart BSR" project). They exchanged thoughts regarding the EU's post 2020 multiannual financial framework and what they see as key challenges to manage S3 strategies at the macro-regional level.  It was controversially discussed whether there is a need for more financial instruments, or first and foremost for better integration of S3 into the daily work of the regional innovation actors.

The lively debate among all participants once again made clear that transnational cooperation among industry, the research & development sector and authorities is a key driver in smart specialisation strategies. Isabel Sünner, Head of International Cooperation at HWWI, is convinced that "in the run-up to the post-2020 period the regional policy owners should take up the chance to integrate transnational aspects in their S3 and agree upon concrete areas of cooperation. The acceptance for that can be increased by applying scientifically validated analysis tools like the GoSmart methodology. This can especially be of benefit for regional SMEs by opening up new business opportunities in high potential sectors".

The photo shows from left to right: Tanja Woronowicz (Innovation Capability Center, University Bremen), Jerker Johnson (Regional Council of Ostrobothnia), Thomas Jensen (EU Consultant, South Denmark European Office), Isabel Sünner (Head of International Cooperation, HWWI), Robert Girejko (Bialystok University of Technology).


Isabel Sünner
+49 (0)421 2208 - 242
+49 (0)421 2208 - 150
Dr. Jan Wedemeier
+49 (0)421 2208 - 243
+49 (0)40 34 05 76 - 150