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Smart Specialisation

Smart Specialisation is an innovation policy concept that aims to boost regional enterprise innovation, contributing to growth and prosperity by helping and enabling regions to focus on their strengths.

Smart Specialisation advocates a place-based approach to focusing innovation investment on a few, carefully chosen priorities, where the impact can be greatest. The approach involves assessing economic, higher education and other innovation assets to identify and select a limited number of priority areas for knowledge-based investments, focusing on a region’s strengths and comparative advantages.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has launched an updated Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) for Ireland, covering the period to 2027:

National Smart Specialisation Strategy for Innovation 2022-2027

Ireland’s Smart Specialisation Strategy embraces a regional approach to addressing Ireland’s Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) challenges. It provides a bridge between regional and national innovation strategy building and decision making, bringing coherence to RD&I planning for the benefit of enterprise and advancing the RD&I agenda regionally and nationally. It incorporates regional level consultation, including through revised Regional Enterprise Plans (REPs), which gives a local and regional insight to innovation priorities.

S3 focuses on achieving impact in several national strategic priorities of real significance for Ireland, to advance the RD&I agenda at regional and national levels and to achieve delivery of a more digitally connected, greener Ireland which serves all our residents. These national strategic priorities are:

  1. Digitalisation and digital transformation
  2. Green transformation for enterprise
  3. Innovation diffusion
  4. International collaboration on RD&I
  5. Improving the national or regional enterprise research and innovation system.

Ireland’s approach to Smart Specialisation is also reflected in Impact 2030: Ireland’s Research and Innovation Strategy developed by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

More information on Smart Specialisation and its role in Europe’s Cohesion policy is available on the Smart Specialisation Platform.