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Regular version of the site

Article

Smart by Oneself? An Analysis of Russian Regional Innovation Strategies within the RIS3 Framework

Foresight and STI Governance. 2018. Vol. 12. No. 1. P. 25-45.
Kutsenko E., Islankina E., Kindras A.

Less than a decade since its official introduction, smart specialization, which guides the selection of priorities for innovative development, has proven to be a far-reaching academic idea and political instrument. In the European Union, smart specialization is mentioned among ex ante conditions for receiving subsidies from European structural and investment funds. Its core principles are considered in innovation strategies in Australia, South Korea, and some countries of Latin America. In Russia, smart specialization is also being introduced in the agenda of policymakers.

The paper seeks to reveal which levels of governance should be involved in the design of a smart specialization strategy and which factors should be the focus of attention when using this approach. The research is based upon an analysis of the innovation strategies of seven Russian regions, conducted with the adapted RIS3 Self-Assessment Wheel.

The results of the study empirically confirm that most principles of smart specialization are considered, at least formally, in the traditional innovation strategies of Russian regions. At the same time, without common rules for the selection, verification, and synchronization of innovative priorities as well as a single analytical database, organizational support, and expertise, even regions considered strong innovators fail to find their smart specialization.