TASO will conduct, as lead expert, a large-scale cutting-edge project on Smart Specialisation at City Level. The project, which is called IN FOCUS, is led by Bilbao, along with other European cities such as Turin, Oporto and Bucharest. It is now in a preparatory phase, extending the initial partnership to a maximum of ten highly motivated cities.
Despite the recent proliferation at regional level of the so-called Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3), which is an ex-ante condition for all the EU regions to access the Structural Funds, a performance shortage has rapidly emerged on this issue at the level of urban economies. At a large extent, it is a question of multi-level governance. Anyway, that is a significant gap, considering the main role big cities play in the global competition.
However, instead of merely transferring the RIS3 methodology down to the local level, the project aims at getting a specific city roadmap to smart specialisation, as a powerful and overarching approach to properly assemble a number of key concepts and trends, such as cluster-based segmentation, key enabling technologies, talent management, city branding or new urban workplaces.
IN FOCUS will trace a cutting-edge peer-learning transnational itinerary on this theme, which should crystallize locally into an action plan by each of the participating cities
IN FOCUS is co-funded by the URBACT programme and will run from now until April 2018.