ERASMUS+ Project Thinking Smart

Toolkit for the engagement of HEI in regional growth/HEIS3

The Thinking Smart consortium consists out of 8 partners (Higher Educational Institutions, a University network and companies) out of 7 European countries. They provide an excellent coverage in terms of Smart Specialization Strategy development and all related issues.

Smart specialization aims to boost regional innovation and achieve economic growth by enabling regions to focus on their strengths. The smart specialization needs to be based on a strong partnership between businesses, public entities and knowledge institutions, which are also essential for success. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) con contribute in many different ways to regional development and growth, such as:

  • providing high level human capital and skills to the business sector
  • promoting entrepreneurship and business development;
  • enhancing innovation through research activities;
  • provide advisory and other services to companies;
  • or provide strategic advice to regional authorities and experts to support the definition of regional development priorities.

However, HEIs (as distinct from R&D organisations) are rarely mentioned in regional innovation strategies.

In this regard, the Thinking Smart project will encourage HEIs to pursue an active role in the priority setting and delivery of RIS3 strategies, especially by contributing to find new ways in which HEIs can be engaged in the entrepreneurial discovery process as well as in other stages of the RIS3 design process, and also in its implementation process, which has been little explored so far. Moreover, how HEIs can adjust their strategies and portfolios in order to incorporate the regional smart specialization in their processes will be explored. Additionally, new communication mechanisms between HEIs and regional authorities will be developed and tested, by which dialogue and trust will be facilitated.

At the end, the project will provide HEIs and regional authorities with a  step-by-step set of guidelines and recommendations focused on:

  • Increasing participation of HEIs in the entrepreneurial discovery process of RIS3;
  • Increasing and facilitation participation of HEIs in the implementation of RIS3;
  • Strengthening cooperation and trust between HEIs and regional authorities

Thinking Smart is coordinated by UTAD – Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, a university located at Vila Real, Portugal. Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum is as a project partner responsible for the evaluation activities for the whole project. It has also supported the project bidding process.

Project duration: 01/2015 – 12/2017

Countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK

Portrait Heike Fischer
Heike Fischer
0711 123 4014