The “Guide to Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation”, which is a document of the European Commission, recommends S3 preparation through implementation of six steps:


Analysis of national/regional context and innovation potential;


Establishment of the process and governance structure;


Creation of a common vision on the future of the country/region;


Selection of a limited number of priorities;


Creation of appropriate mix of policies, roadmap and action plan;


Integration of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

One of key steps for creating S3 is the selection of a limited number of priority areas (step 4), which is implemented in practice through three methodological phases:


is the mapping of economic, research and innovation potential recorded in relevant statistical data. It is an objective method that compares statistical data for initial identification of priority sectors. Economic mapping analyses available data at the industry level based on a combination of criteria (number of employees, employment growth, degree of specialisation compared to EU28, export performance, etc.). This mapping is compared with the results of scientific mapping (data on scientific publications, number of scientists per field, etc.) and the results of innovation mapping (number of patents per industry, etc.). This allows to detect preliminary S3 priority areas in industries in which the positive indicators and trends of the three types of mapping match.


uses a subjective judgment based on information that cannot be quantified, with the aim of evaluating research, innovation and economic potentials in S3 priority areas that have been pre-selected through quantitative analysis. Qualitative analysis uses a number of methods that cannot be quantified, in order to check preliminary S3 priority areas, and examines the trends of their growth, development vision of the most important stakeholders, circumstances in the environment, interaction with other sectors of the economy and development opportunities. Qualitative analysis also detects newly emerging and/or transforming sectors.


is carried out to identify final S3 priority areas. The process is inclusive and interactive, based on the bottom-up approach, and allows representatives from different social spheres (politics, business, academia and civil society), but primarily the economy, to propose final priorities through an open dialogue. In addition, the EDP finally identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) for each priority sector and the economy in general. It is also used to gather information about potential innovation activities and opportunities created by the interaction between science, economy and society. Policymakers assess the outcomes and ways to successfully implement the potentials discovered during this process.

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