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UNECE to consider incorporating Smart Specialisation into its policy advice on innovation

UNECE will incorporate new approaches to innovation at the regional level in its policy advice to Governments, including in upcoming national Innovation Performance Reviews for Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, and Belarus.


This is one of the outcomes of an international conference on “Smart Specialisation – Strategies for Sustainable Development” held in Geneva on 16-17 October 2014.


Meeting under the auspices of the UNECE Committee on Economic Cooperation and Integration, policy makers and academics from throughout the UNECE region discussed the potential for smart specialization strategies as a policy tool for regions at different levels of economic development.


Smart specialisation is a – relatively new – approach to innovation policy and to regional economic development. It is a strategy in which governments design and deploy their policy instruments on the basis of market signals in order to take advantage of existing strengths in the economy with the objective of promoting innovation and developing new lines of business.


 “The goal is to provide a method to help policy makers identify the domains and the activities where new regional capabilities will be built and competitive advantages will be created” said Professor Dominique Foray, vice-chairman of the UNECE Team of Specialists on Innovation and Competitiveness Policies and one of the intellectual fathers of the smart specialization concept.

The conference discussed what smart specialisation strategies are, how they can be implemented, why they may offer advantages over more traditional approaches to innovation and regional development policy, but also what their limitations are under different political and economic development scenarios. Regions ranging from Andalusia in Spain to Samara in the Russian Federation presented their experiences.


The conference brought together some 75 experts representing national government agencies, academic institutions, the private sector and international organisations. They came from twenty-eight countries, as well as from the European Commission, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, World Intellectual Property Organisation, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Eurasian Development Bank.


Conference materials are available at: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=35927  


For more information, contact: Ralph Heinrich +41 22 917 1269 

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