Stimulating smart specialization ecosystem through engaging SMEs in open innovation processes

May 2016 -
April 2019

Priority area:
1. Innovation 1.2 Smart specialisation

BSR Stars S3

The project focuses on bio- and circular economy as a cross-sectoral priority field of smart specialization in the Baltic Sea Region. The policy approach of open innovation based ecosystems calls for new tools of innovation management and follow up systems. The main objective is to improve competences and capabilities of innovation actors to apply a transnational approach to the implementation of their regional and national smart specialisation strategies.


The introduction of the concept of smart specialisation (S3) has challenged European regions to establish innovation driven development strategies that focus on areas of strength and competitive advantage. Even though regions desire to leverage their own strengths in combination with innovation capacity in other regions transnationally, the existing structures, operational mechanisms and financing frames are not suited to these transnational ambitions.

Building on existing activities and policy governance structures the project aims to develop more integrated innovation support infrastructures, such as test and demonstration facilities and new innovation management tools to leverage complementary competences across borders in the BSR.

The project focuses on cross sectoral S3 field of bio-/circular economy using digital economy as an enabling field leveraged from the smart specialization strategies of the participating regions of Skåne (Sweden), Copenhagen (Denmark), Tampere (Finland), Vilnius (Lithuania) and SorTrondelag (Norway). The project will engage 400 SMEs in public research business events, 150 SMEs in transnational coaching, and 10 SMEs with transnational access to bio-economy test facilities in the BSR – leading to new financing and international business cooperation projects. The project will engage the five regional project partners in analysing, developing and testing new tools and methods for regional and transnational implementation of S3 as well as more than 30 additional regional and national authorities in learning and policy development activities.

The project main outputs are “cross sectoral S3 support programme for SMEs”, “transnational S3 accelerator camp concept”, “innovation ecosystem management tool”, “transnational research-to-business platform” and “policy briefs with recommendations” that can be used at the regional, national and EU levels for efficient S3 implementation. The project expects to foster more integrated innovation ecosystem in the BSR and efficient approaches to transnational collaboration on common challenges using bio-/ circular economy as a case.

Highlights by mid-term:

BSR Stars S3 has started to stimulate cross-sectoral cooperation among companies, researchers and public sector in smart specialisation within bio-, circular and digital economy in the Baltic Sea region. A S3 Accelerator Workshop and Camp were organised, forming transnational teams and utilising business acceleration methods. Furthermore, publicresearch- business bio- and circular economy matchmaking events were organised in Vilnius (LT) and Tampere (FI). Transnational coaching and meetings followed, leading to action plans and new business exchange across borders.

BSR Stars S3 has also started a panel of experts, the “Sounding Board,” reviewing methods for S3 implementation of regions. The project was also represented at a number of events. Project partners hosted e.g. two inter-connected seminar sessions at the 8th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR in Berlin.

An open call for small and medium sized enterprises for transnational product testing and development was launched. In this context, a paper on digital test beds was published and gained positive feedback.

Project Stories


€ 2.90
€ 2.11
Eni + Russia
€ 0.00
€ 0.07


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Project manager

The Baltic Institute of Finland

Johanna Leino

358 504 363 233

Legal representative

The Baltic Institute of Finland

Esa Kokkonen

+358 50 516 9111

Financial manager

Baltic Institute of Finland

Laura Karppinen

358 408 235 372

Communication manager

The Baltic Institute of Finland

Johanna Leino

358 504 363 233