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

March 2016 -
February 2019


Policy area:
1. Innovation 1.2 Smart specialisation

Smart Blue Regions

The Interreg project Smart Blue Regions helped public authorities of coastal regions at the Baltic Sea review and improve their research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation to trigger sustainable blue growth in the marine and maritime sectors.


The challenge

Research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3) are the EU policy instruments that support innovating the regions efficiently. However, regions often lack the know-how and prior experience to properly define, and later implement, such strategies from an early stage on. At the same time, there is a strong need and growing potential for using these strategies to stimulate blue growth in the Baltic Sea region, especially in emerging sectors of life science, blue medicine, energy and machinery & technology.

In Smart Blue Regions, six regions in Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Sweden worked together to exploit the existing opportunities and improve their RIS3 by developing solutions that best fit their needs. These are based on e.g. integrating good practice cases from other regions and developing policy measures that support blue growth.


The partner regions – Southwest Finland, Pomorskie, Skåne, Ida-Viru, Schleswig-Holstein and Riga regions – reviewed and shared experiences on the implementation of their blue growth research and innovation smart specialisation strategies (Blue RIS3). Next, they developed solutions for the identified bottlenecks in their RIS3, e.g. lack of cooperation with companies and regional planners or a weaker role of regional cluster and unstable financing for them and other intermediaries. As a result, for example, Pomorskie updated their Regional Strategic Programme introducing an entrepreneurial discovery process to manage regional clusters – a good practice from Schleswig-Holstein.

Southwest Finland created an internal plan for their Blue RIS3 implementation with a focus on responsibility, collaborative skills, accessibility and resource wisdom. The project developed a monitoring and review system for evaluating Blue RIS3. Schleswig-Holstein (SH) tested this system by comparing needs and developments of blue growth sectors with the aims and priorities included in the RIS3 and its implementation programmes. This way, SH detected weaknesses as well as recommendations for an update in their Blue RIS3: e.g. to use RIS3 as a strategic tool for innovation policy and to focus more on cross-innovations, scenarios and visions.





€ 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