Place-based innovation for sustainability
Professor Luc Soete and Professor Philip McCann explore how science for policy can support the implementation of the European Green Deal and the new EU policy for sustainable development. Their report presents their reflections, backed up by a consultation with a broader academic community gathering expertise in both innovation policy and regional development policy.
The report highlights the historical opportunity for the EU, with a policy agenda placing sustainability in the front seat. The authors take inspiration from two experimental innovation policies in the EU: the smart specialisation policy, implemented through the European Regional Development Funds, and the mission-oriented policy, implemented through the upcoming Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation. As the authors, eloquently phrase it: the European Green Deal is at the same time the EU´s Moonshot mission and its global smart specialisation strategy. However, they stress that this travel will not be without adventures. A place-based innovation policy for sustainability will require a solid multi-level governance and a policy flexibility to address possible trade-offs early on. Smart specialisation strategies have built the foundations but would now need to marry bottom-up leadership with the new directionality of sustainability and inclusiveness. The authors formulate this as the move from S3 to S4+.