Stimulating smart specialization ecosystem through engaging SMEs in open innovation processes

May 2016 -
April 2019


Policy area:
1. Innovation 1.2 Smart specialisation

BSR Stars S3

Through the project BSR Stars S3, business support organisations, public authorities and policy makers in several regions around the Baltic Sea know more about how to turn their smart specialisation strategies for advancing bio and circular economies into action.

The Opportunity

Smart specialisation (S3) is a systematic process to make European regions globally more competitive through innovation. This approach was introduced to policy makers as well as other stakeholders from business level, academia and other innovation actors in 2014. Since then, around 180 strategies were established. Even though many regions wanted to leverage their own strengths by connecting with regions in other countries, the existing structures, operational mechanisms and financing frames were not suited to these transnational ambitions.

Building on existing activities and policy governance structures, the project aimed 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 Baltic Sea region. The project aimed to improve competences and capabilities of innovation actors to apply a transnational approach when they implement their regional and national smart specialisation strategies. The project focused on bio- and circular economy as a cross-sectoral priority field of smart specialisation in the Baltic Sea region with a focus on the Nordic states and Lithuania.


Administrative actors like regional and national public authorities from and beyond the partnership learned about economic opportunities in the bio- and circular economy and transnational cooperation. Regional authorities gained understanding on new digital potentials for innovation ecosystem management in their regions, e.g. by contributing and testing an online tool to visualise innovation ecosystems. Regional authorities also learned how to better organise workshops in cross-sectoral teams to find the best solutions to regional challenges by setting up so-called S3 accelerator camps. Beyond study visits, both regional authorities and business development organisations learned and tested ways to involve business sector and research organisations in smart specialisation, e.g. by organising matchmaking events and a so-called transnational innovation coaching.

Networking opportunities for bio- and circular economy stakeholders were organised in Karlstad, Tampere and Vilnius. The events have had altogether approximately 800 participants representing research (about 400 representatives), business (over 300 representatives), and the public sector (about 100 representatives). Another means of building further knowledge were so-called policy briefs on different topics. In policy briefs, the regions and research institutes summarised their learning about selected aspects of smart specialisation.

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