The session on Regional Innovation Ecosystems will engage high-level business representatives and policy makers in discussing what regional actors can do, in particular through closer collaboration between them, to enhance the performance of innovation in Europe.

In order for regional innovation systems for smart specialization to be successful, all regional stakeholders should unite and work together under a shared vision. One of the greatest challenges for the European regions in the coming years will be to create ecosystems as part of their Regional Innovation Strategies, which will establish close links between SMEs, large industries, universities and research organizations and the public sector. Encouraging inclusivity, multi-level governance and building social and creative human capital are among the tools to develop a sustainable Innovation eco-system. It is extremely important that all triple helix partners are involved in developing, implementing and monitoring the smart specialization strategies. More specifically, the private sphere should be broadly involved when the regions identify their unique economic potential and most promising areas of specialization.

On the other hand, European businesses should be provided with the necessary framework conditions to develop and invest. The regional public authorities need to identify and eliminate the administrative barriers that hinder regional economic growth. At the same time, the financial instruments currently negotiated at an EU level, under Horizon 2020 and COSME, need to provide SMEs with easy access to  risk finance and enable them to compete at a regional and international level. Accepting failure and changing the attitudes toward risk taking, however, is an important precondition for enhanced investments and innovation.

Public-private partnerships are crucial in encouraging cooperation and collaboration, in particular in large-scale projects. By working more closely together, private and public actors will be able to push the levels of partnership further, leading to increased private investment in R&I.

Having smart specialization strategies in place is going to be one of the prerequisites for successful use of the structural funds. This entails viable and interconnected regional innovation ecosystems, where entrepreneurship is stimulated, university - business cooperation is successful, innovation support services are active and skills and training schemes are put in place. This session will bring together senior level business representatives and policy makers to discuss how European regions should raise competitiveness and economic growth in a viable and sustainable way.


  • Success stories within triangle of knowledge
  • Role of industry in smart specialization of regions
  • Building the effective regional innovation ecosystem
  • How to effectively tackle the main barriers?
  • SME dimension, COSME