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Thinking Smart Community

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to launch the Smart Stakeholders Community formed within the framework of the Thinking Smart Project – Toolkit for the Engagement of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Regional Growth, an EU-funded initiative (2016-2017). The Community promotes collaboration among the key stakeholders of the quadruple helix e.g. universities, business sector as well as governmental and civic organisations.

Our aim is to engage the stakeholders from different regions in Europe for joint collaboration and awareness raising campaign on the social impact of research and innovation strategies.

Through a series of case studies collected from HEIs and a set of recommendations, the project will develop a Thinking Smart Toolkit for self-assessment of innovation potential of an individual HEIs.

We invite you to follow our Newsletter and build up your know-how in Regional Research and Innovation Strategies for enhanced social impact on a step-by-step basis. The Community is addressed to universities, businesses, governmental and civic organisations.

We look forward to collaborating with you!
Thinking Smart Project Team

People You Should Know
Advisory Board members

The project brought together top experts to form the Advisory Board to ensure high quality of the project outputs, and a pragmatic approach towards Smart Specialisation Management at European Universities.

  • Esteban Pelayo - European Association of Development Agencies
  • John Goddard - EUA - European Universities Association
  • Marc Pattinson - ECA - European Cluster Alliance
  • Richard Tuffs - ERRIN - European Regions Research and Innovation Network
  • John Edwards - S3 - Smart Specialization Platform
Meet The Team
The Thinking Smart Project is implemented by:
  • Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), Portugal
  • Newcastle University (NCL), United Kingdom
  • Politecnico di Milano (PoliMI), Italy
  • Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI), Portugal
  • Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum der Steinbeis Innovation (SEZ), German
  • Universidad Politecnica de Valencia (UPV), Spain
  • Uniwersytet Łódzki (ULO), Poland
  • SGroup European Universities' Network (SGroup), Belgium
Now I Know

Thinking Smart sets out an innovative objective: support HEIs in contributing to and benefiting from Smart Specialisation strategies.

Project Objectives

  • Identify successful and innovative ways in which HEIs have contributed to RIS3 in their strategic direction;
  • Take part in a collaborative process to identify gaps and challenges regarding the role of HEIs for regional growth;
  • Co-design a toolkit to support HEIs in improving their contribution to RIS3, ensuring it benefits their overall strategy;
  • Develop a policy brief and actively engage policy-makers at regional, national and international levels;
  • Create a support network to facilitate continuous best-practice exchange between all actors involved in RIS3.

Smart specialization – a component of the new regional policy of the European Union, it plays a strategic function of central importance in implementing priorities defined by EUROPE 2020 strategy, namely:

  • Smart growth, based on knowledge and innovation;
  • Sustainable growth, promoting a more resource efficient, greener and competitive economy;
  • Inclusive growth, fostering a high employment economy delivering economic, social and territorial cohesion.

Smart specialisation is also relevant to achieve sustainable growth, as an important innovation effort and considerable investment it is required to shift towards a resource-efficient and low carbon economy, offering opportunities in domestic and global markets.

Finally, smart specialisation contributes to inclusive growth between and within regions by strengthening territorial cohesion and by managing structural change, creating economic opportunity and investing in skills development, better jobs and social innovation.

Source: D. Foray, J. Goddard, X. G. Beldarrain, M. Landabaso, P. McCann, K. Morgan, C. Nauwelaers, R. Ortega-Argilés, Guide to Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisations (RIS3), Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, European Union


RIS3 – Regional Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation “are integrated, place-based economic transformation agendas that do five important things:

  • They focus on policy support and investments on key national/regional priorities, challenges and needs for knowledge-based development, including ICT-related measures;
  • They build on each country's/region’s strengths, competitive advantages and potential for excellence;
  • They support technological as well as practice-based innovation and aim to stimulate private sector investment;
  • They get stakeholders fully involved and encourage innovation and experimentation;
  • They are evidence-based and include sound monitoring and evaluation systems

Source: Guide to Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisations (RIS3), Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, European Union, 2012 p. 10


Source: Interactive RIS3 Guide

RIS3 as a process is composed of six steps:
  • Step 1 - Analysis of regional context/potential
  • Step 2 – Governance
  • Step 3 – Vision for the future
  • Step 4 – Selection of priorities
  • Step 5 – Policy mix
  • Step 6 – Monitoring and evaluation
This Might Be a Smart Thing

Visit the Thinking Smart website regularly


Smart Events
Thinking Smart Stakeholders Meeting
Thinking Smart Stakeholders Meeting at the Polytechnic of Milan on 4-5 July, 2017.
Read More
University-Industry Interaction Conference
The conference will take place in Dublin (Ireland), June 8-9, 2017.
Read More
A Smart Case To Learn About

Today we’d like to highlight examples of Smart approaches developed by a partner institution in our project, the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV). Did you know that...

  • UPV created the Science Park – Polytechnic City of Innovation (CPI) that was built on a model of an Open Collaboration Network, in a flexible configuration that brings together public and private agents who share their knowledge and resources on a voluntary basis. Three main agents compose the base of CPI: Research centres, Innovation Antennas, and Entrepreneurial Innovation centres. CPI works in close proximity with private companies, public Valencian bodies, the Spanish R&D&I body and international agencies to promote global innovation.
  • Valencia Space Consortium (VSC) carries out scientific research and technological development services in fields related to the space sector, increasing safety and quality of production of space systems as well as conducting all activities aimed, directly or indirectly, to achieve social and economic progress in Europe within the space sector.
  • The Bank of patents of the Valencian Innovation System is a joint programme of the Generalitat Valenciana and the public research bodies within the Region of Valencia that aims to increase the collaboration between entrepreneurs to strengthen the transfer of the technological results advanced by scientists for the productive and service sectors. It facilitates the supply of patents and technologies pending licensing and serves as a benchmarking tool to evaluate the potential of the Region in the hand off to the business and industrial fabric encompassing and excellent R&D&I network.
Know More
Relevant Links
GUNI Report Higher Education In The World

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