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Introducing Italy's new "Smart Specialization Strategy"

A new way to foster national productivity and progress

Introducing Italy's new "Smart Specialization Strategy"

Claudia Astarita

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Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) highlights local excellences, understands the productive vocation of a territory, its competitive advantages, innovation potential and fosters a more effective use of communitarian resources. S3 focuses on advanced strategies characterized by flexibility and dynamism. It was conceived at the European level, set up by the Regions and implemented at the national level.

S3 aims at involving all relevant characters in the process of promotion of the territory, such actors from the entrepreneurial and scientific world and the relevant institutions interested in innovation. Thanks to the cooperation between the relevant actors, each region was able to identify its specialization areas. In particular, 21 documents were prepared concerning the specific field each Region will invest on in the next seven years. From these papers, 12 priority areas for the development of the country have emerged. Some of them are aerospace, agrifood, blue growth, green chemistry, creativity design and made in Italy, energy, smart factory, sustainable mobility and health.

In parallel with the regional efforts, the Italian Ministry for Economic Development (MISE) and the Ministry for Education, University and Research (MIUR) have defined the National Smart Specialization Strategy (SNSI). Its main aim was to coordinate the interventions among the different levels of government in order to avoid duplications and encourage the synergy among the different actors. SNSI has identified 5 thematic national areas of specialization, i.e. sustainable and smart industry, energy and environment; health, diet and quality of life; digital agenda, smart communities and intelligent mobility systems; tourism, cultural heritage and creativity industry; aerospace and defence.

Invitalia - the Italian national agency for the attraction of investments - has played a pivotal role in building S3, assisting both the Regions and the national authorities. In particular, the agency has organized meetings with regional administrations, setting up focus and working groups to identify the best intervention areas. Lastly, Invitalia has also fostered the collaboration between entrepreneurs and researchers at the national level.

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