European project RegStrat

Strategic Policy Intelligence Tools for Better S&T Investment Strategies in Europe\'s Regions

In a rapidly changing and complex socio-economic-political environment, decision-makers need to address the challenges of competitiveness, accelerated technological change and globalisation of a more and more knowledge-based economy. However, they often lack a comprehensive knowledge base and a structured stakeholder input to take informed RTDI-related decisions. To help regional actors develop novel strategies and approaches to RTDI decision-making, the RegStrat project explored new ways to apply such Strategic Policy Intelligence (SPI) tools as (Technology) Foresight, Technology Assessment, Evaluation, Benchmarking and Innovation Audits in an integrated manner.

RegStrat aimed to bring together the dispersed knowledge of SPI tools, from research and practice, which is usually both expensive to generate and difficult to translate into day-to-day decision-making. The project highlighted the best ways to apply these tools at the regional level, along the whole policy-cycle, to design and implement tailor-made regional research, technological development and innovation (RTDI) policies and programmes, and to elaborate related investment strategies. In addition, to strengthen regional capacity for setting up SPI processes and to make the optimal use of funding opportunities available for Europe’s regions, various funding schemes and programmes supporting research and innovation (e.g. Structural Funds, CIP, FP7) were examined.

To build the knowledge base, literature on the topic was reviewed and compiled, and expert and stakeholder meetings were organised to assess the demand for strategic policy advice and how it could be satisfied by using SPI tools. Following, pilot exercises in the six participating regions Baden-Württemberg (DE), Ireland, Lombardy (IT), Extremadura (ES), Lower-Silesia (PL) and Estonia (EE) were developed and implemented to test the application and combination of SPI tools in specific regional contexts. Each regional partner developed its pilot project in close cooperation with and supported by the other project partners, taking into account both the specific regional situation and previous SPI activities, which had already been conducted in the region. Based on this, a practical Guide and a more comprehensive Compendium were developed to support regional decision-makers in Europe in comprehensively and successfully applying and combining SPI tools. The RegStrat Guide is available for everyone interested in applying SPI tools and can be found [http://download.steinbeis-europa.de/regstrat/regstrat_guide-final.pdf|here]].

Lessons derived from the pilot projects were deliberated in April 2007 at a conference carried out in Dublin. This event was conducted in the framework of the spring workshop of the "Six Countries Programme" titled “From Innovation Policy Research to Local Policy Implementation”. The final release of the project results, including the Compendium and the Guide, took place at a dissemination event in March 2008 in Brussels. There, policy recommendations were presented by the project consortium and discussed with EU-representatives and other stakeholders from various European regions.

The RegStrat project was a co-ordination action supported by the “Regions of Knowledge 2” initiative of the European Commission, DG Research. The project consortium was composed of Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum, for Baden-Württemberg, as a co-ordinator and of the following partners:

  • IRER, the Regional Institute for Research of Lombardy, for Lombardia, Italy;
  • Forfás, the National Policy Advisory Board for Enterprise, Trade, Science, Technology and Innovation, for Ireland;
  • Fundecyt, the Foundation for the Development, for Extremadura, Spain;
  • WUT, Wroclaw University of Technology, for Lower Silesia, Poland, and
  • IBS, the Institute of Baltic Studies, for Tartu Region, Estonia.

To ensure sustainability of the RegStrat-project, the outcomes are adapted and implemented in the context of regional cluster development and cooperation in the EU-funded .

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Portrait Sabine Hafner-Zimmermann
Sabine Hafner-Zimmermann
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