SMART SPECIALIZATION is a concept promoted by the European Union to express the framework and mechanisms for the specialization of innovation processes at the level of a developing country/region. In the financial year 2021-2027, this concept is supported by the strategic investment objectives of the European Union's Cohesion Policy, in particular by Policy Objective 1 "A smarter Europe, by promoting an innovative and intelligent economic transformation".
The North-West Regional Development Agency developed the Smart Specialization Strategy of the region with the support of European Commission experts and with financial assistance received within the 2014-2020 ROP Technical Assistance Project during 2016-2018. The support from the EC Joint Research Center was funded by a preparatory action of the European Parliament and is part of the pilot project of DG Regio and Urban Policy for less developed regions "Lagging regions".
The document was updated during 2020, taking into account the new legislative package on the implementation of European funds related to the 2021-2027 financial framework, launched by the European Commission (EC), which provides for a series of "favoring conditions" that replace the related ex-ante conditionalities period 2014-2020, these being stricter and consolidated in the context of the targeted European fund, EU funding being restricted by their non-fulfillment according to the provisions of the draft General Regulation (EC). This regulation provides in Annex III, 4 horizontal favorable conditions (CO) on the fulfillment of which depends the financing of all specific objectives related to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund (CF) and the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and in Annex IV , 15 sectoral favorable conditions (CS) on the fulfillment of which depends the financing of one or more specific objectives aimed at certain intervention sectors.
Fulfilling the criteria related to the enabling condition "Good governance of the national or regional smart specialization strategy" is essential for the programming exercise for the period 2021-2027, considering the funding related to Policy Objective 1 (OP1) of the European Union - "A Smarter Europe , by promoting an innovative and intelligent economic transformation", with impact on several Operational Programs (Regional Operational Programme, Intelligent Growth Operational Programme, Digitization and Financial Instruments, Health Operational Programme). Also, the development of Smart Specialization Strategies at the regional level is a condition for OP1-related funding granted within the Regional Operational Programs in the period 2021-2027.
The version of the Smart Specialization Strategy for the period 2021-2027, approved by the Steering Committee and approved by the Regional Development Council of the Northwest Region and the corresponding project portfolio can be downloaded from the links below: