S3-Empowering for Innovation and Growth in Medium-Sized Cities and Regions

May 2016 -
April 2019
1. Innovation 1.2 Smart specialisation


The project fosters the implementation and improvement of research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation in medium sized cities in the Baltic Sea Region.


Successful implementation of smart specialisation strategies depends on the capacity of innovation intermediaries to work with the policy. In reality, they often lack resources and experiences and/or competences and thus, potential for innovation and growth remains unused. Still, in many regions the RIS3 are communicated insufficiently or are unknown to innovation actors. But for regional authorities as “RIS3 owners” to support innovation adequately, it is crucial that the implementation works properly and all relevant actors are aware of it.

Across Europe authorities face common problems and obstacles in the process of managing, delivering and monitoring their strategies. The project exploits the experience and competences of the partnership to discuss and mutually learn from the RIS3 processes of each partner region. The partnership involves the operative as well as the strategic level to guarantee that the project results lead to a change in the RIS3 processes.

The project aims to enhance the organisational capacities of innovation intermediaries to utilize the strategies and to enhance the capacities of regional authorities for upgrading and improving their RIS3 implementation processes. Compared to metropolises, medium sized cities and regions have on average a smaller critical mass for innovation and growth and the local economic actors are less outward oriented. The project therefor aims to exploit mutual learning and joint networking in common priorities.

There are six priorities, which are recurrently targeted and are also overlapping in the partners´ RIS3: ICT, Health & Life, Science & Biotech, Maritime Industries, Food, Energy, and Materials. In these six priorities transnational empowering takes place via pooling activities by conducting delegation trips with roundtables and matchmaking events for SMEs and stakeholders (e.g. cluster organisations), thus enabling cooperation and offering business opportunities. Hence, six transnational networks of business and experts are developed. Furthermore, innovation and growth is enhanced via developing new solutions for R&D transfer workshops as well as for upgrading workshops and networking activities for SMEs based on the exchange and adaptation of good practices.

RIS3 specialists will mobilize SMEs and other innovation actors by networking, disseminating and working on concrete project ideas for the respective action plan that accompanies each RIS3. This raises the regional innovation capacity and competitiveness of SMEs. To capture and promote the project results and learning processes beyond the partnership, recommendations and results will be elaborated for relevant stakeholders (e.g. innovation actors and responsible authorities).

Highlights by mid-term:

Via transnational meetings held in Mikkeli (FI), Riga (LV), Norrköping (SE) and Kolding (DK), EmpInno partners learnt about innovation ecosystems, implementation frameworks, and smart specialisation strategies and practices in the partner regions.

To support the partners' work with research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3) on a local level, the involved business intermediaries and regions established a team of RIS3 specialists. Several partners (e.g., Kujawsko- Pomorskie Voivodeship, Lubelskie Voivodeship, Riga Planning Region and Region Östergötland) intensified regional discussions and consultation with their innovation and RIS3 stakeholders, and have started the revision of the existing strategies.

The project pooled resources and raised the outward orientation of local SMEs and other innovation actors in the six priorities ICT, Health & Life Science & Biotech, Maritime Industries, Food, Energy and Materials. The partners organised local discussions and brought actors together on transnational level with delegation trips, matchmaking events and roundtables.


€ 2.97
€ 2.33
Eni + Russia
€ 0.00
€ 0.00


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Project manager

Rostock Business

Gert Proba

493 813 771 915

Legal representative

Rostock Business and Technology Development GmbH

Christian Weiss

+ 493 813 771 910

Financial manager

REM Consult

Lars Schieber

494 052 479 489 2

Communication manager

REM Consult

Lars Schieber

494 052 479 489 2