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S3-4AlpClusters Policy Briefing

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S3-4AlpClusters Policy Briefing

Transformative Activities for Regional Development

Smart Specialization Strategies (S3) are a common policy lever at regional level within the EU. They aim at supporting regions in achieving structural change in order to generate the innovation and growth needed to harness globalization. While the idea of transformation is at the core of the S3 process, it has only been the intense practical experience with S3 in European regions in recent years that put the spotlight on transformative activities (TA) as a key concept for S3-implementation. S3 should be understood as a process aimed at transforming the economic structures of a region through the formation and development of new activities based on a combination of existing capacities and opportunities for structural change. Transformative activities can be understood as an accumulation of innovation capacities and actions of a group of actors targeting related (technical, market or industrial) areas and having the potential to significantly transform existing industries. They provide huge potential for regions to develop new value chains and ultimately to create jobs in innovative new fields with high growth potential.

For the last two years, the Interreg VB project S3-4AlpClusters has been actively involved in the S3 process of its 11 participating regions. In a fruitful collaboration between its stakeholders - cluster initiatives, policymakers, academia, businesses – it made use of the interplay between clusters and S3 and cross-regional cooperation to develop innovative new tools to enhance smart industrial transition in the regions of the Alpine Space. The main output of the project, the S3-Innovation Model, introduces a systematic process for the identification and development of transformative activities (TA) with clusters. It offers a set of tools for cluster initiatives and regions to explore capacities and opportunities for transformation and to develop actions to create critical mass for new value chains both within and across regions.

Policy Briefing, March 13, 2019

The policy briefing on March 13 in Venice is a platform for EU policy shapers and analysts and regional policy makers to discover and debate new approaches, processes and tools in S3-implementation. The S3-4AlpClusters partnership will present its innovative contributions to answering crucial challenges in current and future S3:

  • How to focus S3-implementation on new transformative activities (TA)?
  • How to use clusters to take over active roles in a systematic process to identify and develop TA?
  • How to support cross-regional cooperation in the identification and development of TA?


The event is moderated by Christian Altmann, Head of Clusterland, Business Upper Austria.

Final Conference - Smart Specialization with Smart Clusters , March 14

The policy briefing will be followed by the final S3-4AlpClusters conference on March 14, 10:00-16:00. The interplay between clusters and S3 and the tools and processes developed in the project will be presented to a larger public composed of cluster managers, entrepreneurs, academics and policy makers.




Welcome Address
Roberto Marcato, Minister of Economic Development and Energy, Veneto, Italy (tbc)



Keynote - Challenges in S3-Implementation
Dominique Foray, EPFL, Chairman of the S3-4AlpClusters Advisory Board, Switzerland


Keynote – EU Perspective
NN, DG Growth / NN, DG Regio



Transformative Activities for Regional Development - A New Approach for S3-Implementation with Clusters                                                                                                     
Jacques Bersier, HES-SO//FR Innosquare Clusters                                                          
Michael Keller, HES-SO//FR Innosquare Clusters                                                         
Gerd Meier Zu Köcker, ClusterAgentur Baden-Württemberg


Debate on Future S3                                                                           
Policy Panel moderated by:                                                                                            
Christian Altmann, Head of Clusterland, Business Upper Austria – OÖ Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH

NN, DG Growth / NN, DG Regio
Dominique Foray, EPFL                                                                                                               
Armin Mahr, Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research
Gorazd Jenko, Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, Slovenia      
NN, Baden-Württemberg


Closing Address
Olivier Curty, Minister of Economic Affairs, Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland


End of the Policy Briefing Conference