Smart Blue Regions: Smart Specialisation and Blue Growth in the BSR

March 2016 -
February 2019

Priority area:
1. Innovation 1.2 Smart specialisation

Smart Blue Regions

The project seeks to enhance blue growth opportunities based on increased capacity of the Baltic Sea Region to implement research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (so called RIS3). This project is focusing on the blue value chain of Machinery & Technology, Life Science & Blue Medicine and Energy.


Smart specialisation constitutes a significant challenge for many countries in the region. In the absence of prior experience and established knowhow, great variations in regional capacities to implement RIS3 have already appeared in the early stages of priority setting. Not only RIS3 is a new policy instrument, also Blue Growth is still a relatively new concept. Whereas traditional maritime activities like shipping and fishery have been targeted by European, national and regional policies for decades, there is still only a limited base of experience of proven policy measures when it comes to blue biotechnology / life science, maritime surveillance / technology or new propulsion technologies based on marine energy resources. Even on the European level there is no RIS3 specific guidance for blue topics. Blue growth is R&D intensive with a high potential for sustainable innovations that require targeted support measures.

Led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Schleswig Holstein, which is considered by the EU to be a model maritime region in Europe, six Smart Blue Regions from the BSR are cooperating in the project. On one hand they aim in the transnational context to increase their operational capacity to implement RIS3: The “Multilevel Implementation Scheme” is a management plan for RIS3 implementation that shall be developed and piloted by Smart Blue Regions. And the “Blue Growth M&E System” helps them not only to monitor the RIS implementation but also to make blue growth more visible. These two documents will be developed during the project. On the other hand they aim to optimise their own set of blue growth specific RIS3 implementation measures by integrating good practice cases from other regions and / or sectors. As a main output from the transnational cooperation at the end of the project in 2018 the participating regions can draw on optimised blue RIS3 implementation plans. Here the project is focusing on the blue value chain of Machinery & Technology, Life Science & Blue Medicine and Energy.

The project has ensured the involvement of various stakeholders from the research and business sectors as associated organisations. The project partners have an ambition to spur a number of follow-up projects and cooperation. As such the whole BSR might become a model maritime region in Europe.

Highlights by mid-term:

The partner regions – Southwest Finland, Pomorskie, Skåne, Ida-Viru, Schleswig-Holstein and Riga regions – reviewed implementation procedures of their blue growth research and innovation smart specialisation strategies (Blue RIS3). This analysis revealed weak coordination among maritime industries, cluster organisations, academia, regional and national policy makers. The results fed into the development of an implementation scheme that will strengthen this coordination.

The partners mapped maritime actors and resources in the areas of energy, technology and life science. They discussed cooperation between “blue” regions around the Baltic Sea, first topics being digitalisation of shipping & offshore wind energy.

Good practices supporting Blue RIS3 implementation through national Cohesion Policy programmes were identified and shared: e.g. establishing professional cluster structures from Schleswig-Holstein or developing regional competence centres outside of capital areas from Ida-Viru.


€ 1.84
€ 1.46
Eni + Russia
€ 0.00
€ 0.00


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Project manager

s.Pro - sustainable projects GmbH

Carsten Beyer

4 930 832 141 744

Legal representative

Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport, Employment, Technology and Tourism Schleswig-Holstein

Steffen Lüsse

494 319 884 551

Financial manager

Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport, Employment, Technology and Tourism Schleswig-Holstein

Marco Sütel

4 943 019 884 623

Communication manager

s.Pro - sustainable projects GmbH

Clara Coornaert

4 930 832 141 753