74 TERRITORIES FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF SMART SPECIALISATION  

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Last Tuesday May 17th, the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) held a hybrid event on the Call for Pilots on Partnerships for Regional Innovation. The main purpose of the event was to first, announce the 74 European regions that were selected to participate in the Pilot Action during the following months and to co-develop and test their approach. The second focus of the event was to present the PRI Playbook, which will work as the initial guidance document to lead the way for the Pilot.  

One of the TetRRIS pilot regions, Cantabria, Spain, was selected to participate in such an important initiative that will help them boost their Smart Specialisation Strategies alongside efforts to further implement Responsible Research and Innovation practices in the region. Moreover, the Partnerships on Regional Innovation will foster the collaboration and extrapolation of all the advances that the region has been already making under TetRRIs in terms of sustainability and digitisation, two of the main areas of interest of the PRI.  

This Partnership for Regional Innovation Playbook, developed by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission is poised to act as the main reference document englobing the whole PRI initiative. In this sense, during the event it was mentioned that this first edition highlighted the proven tools inspired by leading innovation policies across Europe. Moreover, it was also made clear that the term “Playbook” emphasizes the need to explore, experiment and learn to approach unique opportunities and challenges in each territory and region that will serve as an example for future generations.  

During the event, Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, highlighted the relevance of including all regions in a common strategy to avoid a fracture in the European landscape. Thus, Mrs Ferreira explained the huge impact that the Partnerships on Regional Innovation can have towards achieving the common goal of building a cohesive and inclusive Europe. On the other hand, Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth remarked the vital importance of supporting all involved actors (SMEs, Public Administrations, Startups…) to collaborate between them both regionally but also in a cross-border context.  

In addition, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the CoR, explained that investing in innovation should not be a luxury but a must for all European regions to drive a sustainable and feasible economic development. For this reason, Mr. Tzitzikostas made a special emphasis on the high diversity and the high number of regions presented for the PRI and how transformative innovation can be boosted through the Pilot Action on Partnerships for Regional Innovation.  

In the light of the above, and according to the opinion of several experts on the field, it is said that the Pilot Action on Partnerships for Regional Innovation will be the basis of the future Smart Specialisation Strategies for the next programming period.  

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