The first phase of the INTERREG VB Alpine Space project S3-4AlpClusters is in full swing!  The 15 Project Partners met in Munich on April 3-4 to discuss the ongoing activities and first results. The first work package of the project is concerned with the role of clusters in the implementation of the Smart Specialization Strategies (S3) of the 11 participating regions. The objective is to get a deeper understanding of the regional S3 and related policymaking within the partner regions and to initiate mutual policy learning. In addition, the project aims at identifying synergies between the regional S3 and opportunities for transregional collaboration.

Led by HES-SO//FR HEIA-FR, VDI/VDE GmbH, Berlin and Anteja ECG, Ljubljana, two main activities are running at full speed now. All 15 Project Partners have sent out a StressTest online questionnaire on the role of clusters in the implementation process of regional S3 to their regional stakeholders, consisting inter alia of regional clusters and policymakers concerned with regional development and innovation policy.

Furthermore, a series of Entrepreneurial Discovery Workshops has been launched. New ideas for Smart Specialization shall be discussed in all participating regions in a bottom-up approach involving participants from regional clusters, policymakers and representatives of the regional research and innovation-system.  Based on new combinations of existing regional capabilities and entrepreneurial resources with opportunities involved in current and future technological developments, trends and relevant innovations, the workshops aim at defining new smart strategic domains. In order to develop these smart strategic domains, the participating regions shall draw on the opportunities represented by transregional collaboration based on synergies in regional S3. Under the lead of Dominique Foray (EPFL), Gerd Meier zu Köcker (VDI/VDE GmbH), Michael Keller (HES-SO//FR HEIA-FR) and Simone Weiss (ITG Salzburg), the first workshops have already led to stimulating discussions in Trento, Munich and Salzburg.