The member regions in the CPMR’s Baltic Sea Commission (BSC) see great potential in the enhancement of transnational cooperation on Smart Specialisation in the Baltic Sea Area.

As a result, the BSC is involved in a series of initiatives to create better conditions to strengthen business areas through pan-Baltic cooperation on Smart Specialisation strategies.

Based on these goals, at the BSC’s General Assembly in June members agreed to set a priority area for the creation of a Smart Specialisation Financial Platform in the Baltic Sea, to ensure a strategic alignment of funding sources.

A Task Force for 2017-2019 was set up to support development of such a platform, which will explore ways to create transnational synergies with regards to Smart Specialisation in the Baltic Sea Area.

The BSC is also working closely with the ‘EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) Policy Area (PA) Innovation’ on ways to better align funding from different sources to support transnational cooperation on Smart Specialisation.

In line with this approach, a network of Managing Authorities of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programmes in the Baltic Sea Region was established in May 2016.

The EUSBSR ERDF Managing Authority-network launched a first pilot process, together with PA Innovation and Region Väserbotten, which aims to develop transnational collaboration to help regions implement Smart Specialisation strategies in the field of Clean Tech.

The ‘Clean Tech pilot project’, together with PA-innovation, has delivered two pioneering collaboration projects. The first steps towards the creation of a blueprint for further elaboration have also been initiated.

On 20 September, the EUSBSR ERDF Managing Authority network approved two new initiatives on Blue Growth and on Digital Transformation in the Baltic Sea Area. The BSC, as part of its aim to create a smart specialisation financial platform, is working closely with the regions  involved in the three initial processes.

The BSC is also supporting EUSBSR PA-innovation for the development of a training programme for Smart Specialisation Strategists/experts, possibly financed by the Swedish Institute.

The BSC will co-host a first meeting to explore the creation of a training on 29 November in Stockholm. It will be followed by a workshop, planned for January 2018, aimed at conducting a pre-study to develop a training programme for Smart Specialisation experts. The overall objective is to launch a training module in Autumn 2018.

In its work to support the creation of a Smart Specialisation Financial Platform, the BSC is also involved as an associated partner in the Interreg Baltic Sea project ‘New joint funding models by alignment of funding, increasing geographical flexibility of ESI-Funds within the BSR (AFM-BSR)’, adopted in summer 2017. One objective of the project is to explore possibility of establishing a macro-regional Smart Specialisation Financial Platform.

The AFM-BSR Kick-off meeting was held on 20 September in Potsdam. Led by Region Västerbotten, the projects involved agreed that the project will function as the BSC Task Force for the  creation of a Smart Specialisation Financial Platform.

The second meeting of the AFM-BSR project will be held mid-December, alongside the next meeting of the EUSBSR ERDF MA Network.

Contact the BSC Secretariat for more information.