Smart Specialization hits research and innovation: Introducing KymRIS3
Logistics, bioeconomy and digitalization are the most potent areas for future growth and development in the Kymenlaakso Region. A local bioeconomy expert team launched its own development effort – under the name KymRIS3 – by first mapping out the local developmental needs and then by sketching out four key themes for future success.
During 2016, Vesa Junttila from Kouvola Innovation and Kirsi Tallinen from Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences put together an expert team for bioeconomy that features broad representation from the Region’s companies, cities and the Regional Council of Kymenlaakso. The team members share a positive attitude towards the emerging new opportunities in Kymenlaakso.
The experts are putting forth as many as 80 developmental needs which fall under four main categories: Circular economy (flexible utilization of side streams etc.); Evolution of sustainable living; Developing value chains within packaging industry; and Energy-independent, low-carbon Region. The work emphasizes the importance of anticipating tomorrow’s trends, moving from the obvious requirements of the short term to the strategic long term needs.
In February 2017, four working groups – organized under the four main themes – have come together every week to assess what efforts can be carried out with funding from ongoing EU projects. Each group is reflecting on the needs and methods of implementation and the optimal timing for seeking new funding and partners. From here on, the expert team will meet twice a year to take stock of the progress of the regional collaboration as well as the development of growth under the bioeconomy theme.
EU Commission wants Smart Specialization strategies
Kymenlaakso Region has its own RIS3 strategy (Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization) for 2016-2020. In accordance to the EU Commission guidelines, each Member State – and each Region within the country – must have a RIS3 strategy in place in order to be considered for structural funds. Smart specialization is seen as the most significant regional tool in meeting the targets laid out in the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy.
In line with the objective set by the Regional Council of Kymenlaakso, by the year 2025 Kymenlaakso Region will be a vibrant, nationally and internationally competitive region in the northern growth zone. Driven by its growth sectors – logistics, bioeconomy and digitalization – the Region has a strong RIS3 profile and is able to attract foreign investments and top international talent into the area.
National and international strategic partnerships and collaboration strengthen and complement the Region’s chosen profile. In accordance to the RIS3 profile, the regional resources are directed, more and more, into fewer R&D projects which feature greater impact.
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