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ONLINE Platform for Smart Specialisation Policy Advice

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ONLINE-S3 (ONLINE Platform for Smart Specialisation Policy Advice)

Reporting period: 2016-05-01 to 2017-01-31

Regional and national authorities nowadays have to design and implement successful policies and tackle complex and interconnected societal challenges. Such complex challenges, often characterized by uncertainty and ambiguity, require the existence of transdisciplinary knowledge and transparency. Policy makers have to become proactive, knowledge based and user driven by building internal capacity to quickly process background information and draw on new and alternative forms of knowledge generated by their stakeholder communities.

The above mentioned challenge is particularly evident in the design and implementation of EU2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Although these are valuable resources, they only provide input on the methodology regions should follow, as well as access to further data and documentation (statistics, case studies, description of methodological tools) needed, but not the operational tools required to support undertaking the methodological tasks in an online, ready to use and freely available way. This is the main challenge Online S3 aims to address.

This project will develop an e-policy platform, augmented with a toolbox of applications and online services, able to assist national and regional authorities in the EU to elaborate their smart specialisation agenda. In this regard, the platform will leverage existing methodologies, initiatives and tools developed by the EC for the RIS3 strategy and augment them with further developments serving to strengthen the capacity there is for Europe to offer knowledge-based policy advice. In other words, the project will investigate, develop and test new and innovative technologies, tools and services which are in line with the methodological steps proposed by the European Commission.

The platform and the accompanied services will constitute an online mechanism for policy advice, and shall be integrated within a well-defined, commonly accepted and broadly used methodology for regional policy (RIS3 Guide) (Appendix I). Data and sources of information to feed the platform and the policy advice services will be collected from institutional websites, RSS feeds, online databases, newsgroups and web forums, social networks data, web analytics, content management systems, measurement scoreboards, focus groups, and other online mechanisms supporting the development of such knowledge-based capacities. Taken together, these elements and architecture of integration will offer online all the necessary services (tools, methodologies and roadmaps) to assist with the elaboration, implementation, and evaluation of smart specialisation policies.
"ONLINE S3 started May 2016, and run its first period until January 2017. Main activities and results achieved during this period are:

- A deep analysis of the state of the art in terms of methodologies used in Europe for the design, implementation or evaluation of RIS-3 strategies. All knowledge generated has been made public at: http://www.onlines3.eu/results/
Deliverable D1.2 ""Methodologies for strategic planning at the regional level – a survey"".

- A deep analysis of tools available for the design, implementation or evaluation of RIS-3 strategies, complementary to the previous one. All knowledge generated has been made public at: http://www.onlines3.eu/results/
Deliverable D2.1 ""RIS3 methodologies in the 6 steps- Conclusions from the review (WP1): specifications and designs"".

- Consulting to relevant stakeholders in the regions participating into the project on results from the analysis and studies described above, and the decisions made on top of them on the apps and services to develop during the second period of the project.
Conclusions are also published at http://www.onlines3.eu/results/
Deliverable D2.2 ""Open consultation and workshops: specifications from the users"".

- Running an Open Call for Pilots to incorporate 2 new pilots to the project, additionally to Scotland and Central Region of Macedonia, already partners in our consortium. 12 applications were received from across Europe, with the final selection of Galicia - Spain and Northern_Netherlands.
All information is public and updated in our project website."
More specifically, the service Platform we aim at developing will be based on two components:

• The Platform Core, which represents the technical base designed to make heterogeneous components cohabit and work together with a services’ oriented architecture. The platform will leverage cloud computing as well as Web, mobile and social media technologies, with emphasis on innovative on-line mechanisms.
• The Toolbox of Apps and Services, which is a set of coherent software services enabling functionalities of custom-built applications in the 6 domains of RIS3 design (Analysis of Regional and National Context, Governance, Vision, Priorities’ identification, Definition of Policy mix, Monitoring and Evaluation). The toolbox will be comprised by new and existing online tools for which there is a growing acceptance and popularity in other fields and disciplines.

Τhe online platform and the services will be tested in real world environments, in four different pilot areas (Scotland, Central Region of Macedonia, Galicia and Northern Netherlands), with the cooperation of the regional organisations involved in the RIS3 strategy. The pilots shall reflect different institutional settings and requirements and therefore, highlight different challenges in the use of RIS3 methodology and tools. They aim to assess the platform, the toolbox and the mechanism and provide feedback for their improvement through a user-driven innovation cycle.

To this end, Online S3 aims to establish open innovation communities and enable the rise of new forms of social innovation for the contribution of regional stakeholders to both the design (online interviews, regional workshops for defining the specifications for the tools and services) and the testing of these services (feedback after testing and recommendations for further improvements).

With this project we aim to close the gap that currently exists in the EU support for RIS3 by offering a complete set of online services with respect to the methodology EU regions are required to follow. These knowledge-based services will be complementary to the RIS3 platform and shall be offered free of charge to all European regions. In this respect, the project will examine different methods to mainstream the services across Europe and sustain their development. For this, Online-S3 will adopt two types of strategies:
- first, to link itself and work in conjunction with established platforms and existing initiatives for the promotion of RIS3 strategies (e.g. the S3 platform managed by IPTS), aiming for wide scale development and sustainability at the end of the programme and
- second, to adopt an open science approach (open data, open source, open project reports, open journal publications) for the governance of smart specialisation.
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