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ONLINE Platform for Smart Specialisation Policy Advice

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ONLINE-S3 (ONLINE Platform for Smart Specialisation Policy Advice)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2018-06-30

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 has developed an e-policy platform, augmented with a toolbox of applications and online services, able to assist national and regional authorities in the EU to design and monitor their smart specialisation agenda. In this regard, the platform leverages existing methodologies, initiatives and tools developed by the EC for the RIS3 strategy and augments them with further developments serving to strengthen the capacity there is for Europe to offer knowledge-based policy advice. In other words, the project has investigated, developed and tested intensenly with end-users new and innovative technologies, tools and services which are in line with the methodological steps proposed by the European Commission.
"ONLINE S3 started May 2016, and run until June 2018. Main activities and results achieved during the project 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"".

- The development of ONLINE S3 Platform and its applications and roadmaps, available from: https://www.onlines3.eu/online-s3-platform/

- An extensive testing of these applications with the participation of 4 Pilots (Scotland, Central Región of Macedonia, Northern Netherlands and Galicia), involving hundrers of stakeholders belonging to the Quadruple Hélix (policy-makers, business, researchers and civil society). Details on activities and KPI can be found in D5.2 ""Pilot execution"".

- All knowhow and experience gained during the Project in the use of ONLINE S3 Platform and applications for improved RIS3 design and management, as well as the identification of challenges ahead, have been compiled within ""ONLINE S3 White Paper - INTELLIGENCE AND CO-CREATION IN SMART SPECIALISATION STRATEGIES - Towards the next stage of RIS3"", available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327344990_Intelligence_and_co-creation_in_Smart_Specialisation_Strategies_Towards_the_next_stage_of_RIS3

- Several training activities have been performed, with special mention to an open webinar published at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5O9Mufvyes&list=PLScJBUzXvLKp2XTCHvPSQHxPASv0efMj-

- The final plan for exploitation of results, with a full feasibility assessment of the Platform, tools and related services has been made public as D6.5 ""ONLINE S3 Plan for the sustainability and exploitation of results""."
"More specifically, the service Platform developed is 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 leverages cloud computing as well as Web and social media technologies, with emphasis on innovative on-line mechanisms.
• The Toolbox of Apps and Roadmaps, 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 is 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 have been 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 reflected different institutional settings and requirements and therefore, highlight different challenges in the use of RIS3 methodology and tools. They aimed 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 aimed 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 aimed 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 are complementary to the RIS3 platform and are offered free of charge to all European regions. In this respect, the project has examined different methods to mainstream the services across Europe and sustain their development.

Finally, it is worth stressing the value of the ""ONLINE S3 White Paper - INTELLIGENCE AND CO-CREATION IN SMART SPECIALISATION STRATEGIES - Towards the next stage of RIS3"", where the core building blocks of RIS3 are presented, as they appear in EU documents and related literature. This white paper also discusses weaknesses of the current period and what can be done better in the near future. At the same time, it looks into critical dimensions for the next stage of RIS3, focusing on how strategies can be improved by datasets and software, enabling the implementation of complex methods; thus, facilitating collective intelligence and co-creation of solutions, which both are able to usher a transition from the triple to quadruple helix model of collaboration."