December 5, 2023

S3 Community of Practice Forum and Thematic Partnerships Steering Committee

This first edition of the S3 Community of Practice (CoP) Forum joined in Barcelona over 340 in-person participants that included S3 practitioners, experts, policymakers, and key stakeholders from across various European regions for two days of insightful discussions, networking, and valuable knowledge exchange.

It was not only the first face-to-face event organised by the S3 CoP but also the first one from the S3 Platforms after the COVID-19 pandemic (the last one was celebrated in Malaga, Spain, in December 2019).

The first day, the 28th of November, was dedicated to the S3 Forum, addressing both the strategic and regulatory aspects of S3 policy making. Reflections on the evolution of Smart Specialisation and its ability to address emerging challenges were also framed against the key structural elements of S3. It is worth to mention the particular focus on the I3 Instrument and the Regional

Highlights of the S3 Forum included:

  • Policy Updates: The latest developments related to the I3 Instrument and the Regional Innovation Valleys Initiative, and their interplay with clusters were presented, providing valuable insights for S3 stakeholders.
  • S3 Community of Practice Developments: Participants were briefed on the latest activities within the S3 CoP, including working groups, expert groups, and support to the Thematic Smart Specialisation Partnerships. The launch of the S3 Observatory was also announced as an important service that provides an important overview serving as a central repository of information for S3s across the EU.
  • Networking Opportunities: The event provided ample opportunities for participants to engage with like-minded S3 stakeholders, fostering collaboration, and exploring common opportunities.
  • Dedicated Breakout Sessions: Specialized sessions zoomed in on the S3 fulfilment criteria, featuring presentations on the latest activities within the S3 CoP and regional experiences.
  • Lessons Learned and Experiences: Successful region-led consortia shared their lessons learned and experiences with the I3 and EIE initiatives, contributing to the collective knowledge base.

Plenary sessions were also broadcast live online for a broader audience. Breakout sessions were exclusively organized physically, allowing participants to engage in in-depth discussions on regional experiences and best practices.

The success of the S3 Forum extended beyond the main event, with a set of side events on November 29, including the Steering committee meeting for the S3 Thematic Platforms and meetings of working groups on innovation diffusion, interregional collaboration, and industrial transition. The Generalitat de Catalunya hosted a side event titled "Catalunya's S3 in action: Shared Agendas explained by their main players," where the regional government and key stakeholders detailed the creation and implementation of RIS3CAT Shared Agendas, recognized as good practices across the EU.

About the detailed session of the Agrifood Platform, DG AGRI offered an overview of recent developments related to agrifood policies and the nearest funding opportunities in agriculture, forestry and rural areas. Otherwise, DG RESEARCH presented the recent policies related to bioeconomy. The session continued with good Partnership practices based on the experiences of the S3P Smart Sensors for Agrifood colleagues.

As an additional side event, Traceability & Big Data also organised its Technical Meeting together with partners during this second day. During the two-day event, the Coordination team took advantage of meeting together with partners and colleagues of other Thematic Partnerships, speaking about common needs and future collaborations.

The success of the Smart Specialisation (S3) Forum 2023 underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in advancing regional development across Europe through innovative policies and practices.

The next face-to-face event organised as part of the S3 CoP service will be held in the second semester of 2024.

*Some parts of this piece of news have been adapted from the information shared by DG REGIO and S3 CoP teams. Thank you both. Please find the original article here: