The aim of this paper is to discuss some of the theoretical underpinnings and implementation problems of the RIS3. The analysis is carried out by reviewing the available literature on RIS3 and the proposals of 36 EU regions. The RIS3 approach requires the concentration of R&D efforts in a few domains. It requires a variable mix between research and innovation policy according to the region’s innovative capability. The paper discusses the theoretical and practical issues arising when trying to identify links between technological domains within the same regions and between different regions. The paper also questions the emphasis of the RIS3 on the bottom-up approach given that the design of a ‘strategy’ must necessarily rely, at least at the beginning, on a topdown approach. Suggestions are made on how to improve the design and implementation of the RIS3.
Keywords: Smart specialisation strategy, regional innovation policy, related variety.
Jel Code: L52, O43, R11, R58.