What We Do

Interregional Collaboration projects

The Vanguard Initiative asbl is getting involved in EU projects consistent with its regional membership political commitment of implementing smart specialisation strategies, advancing technological developments through interregional collaboration, supporting demonstration and piloting of new European value-chains, and making the Vanguard Initiative a powerful force for European technological change and advancement. 

S3 Community of Practice - The Central Knowledge and Information Hub for Smart Strategies Specialisation

While the VI is committed since 2013 to lead by example to foster industry-led interregional cooperation, on the basis of smart specialisation - S3, the network is contributing to the management of DG REGIO’s newly launched Smart Specialisation Strategies Community of Practice(S3 CoP), collaborating with Technopolis Group (lead partner), IDEA Consult, EFIS, Opix, CIVITTA, Old Continent, Teamwork, 4FRONT, ERRIN and the University of Brighton.  

The S3 CoP community of Practice will provide practitioners with a broad set of strategic services, by understanding their needs and co-designing solutions on any relevant S3 aspect. 

The S3Community of Practice will support and animate the Smart Specialisation Platform and the Thematic partnerships (including the VI pilots) therein and will work on building the resulting Community of Practice. 

The S3 Community of Practice should support the achievement of increased knowledge capitalisation and capacity of S3 stakeholders to develop and implement S3 strategies, as well as to initiate and /or bring to fruition thematic interregional innovation partnerships and projects. 

The key activities, coordinated by the S3CoP Secretariat, are articulated along the following services:   

  • An S3 CoP website, as the main hub for sharing news, good practices, and invite the community to participate.  

  • Three Working Groups (WGs) on the themes of Innovation Diffusion, Industrial Transformation, Interregional Cooperation.  

  • An Expert Group, bringing together researchers and practitioners to further the S3 concept, exploring what Smart Specialisation means in the current global and policy landscape.  

  • Targeted expert-support to regions, addressing their specific needs on a demand basis.  Support and coordination to S3 Thematic Platforms and Partnership Organisation of conferences and for practitioners and stakeholders.

Partnerships for Regional Innovation

In 2022, the Vanguard Initiative successfully applied to the Pilot Action on Partnership for Regional Innovation (PRI), and is now strongly involved in the next steps of this process together with 38 other successful applicants. the PRI wants to provide a new approach to place-based innovation policy which builds on positive experiences with smart specialisation strategies.


More information here.


What is the PRI?

In the framework of the PRI, the European Committee of the Regions and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission are cooperating to explore the development of innovation partnerships fit for the green and digital transition, by building on positive experiences with smart specialisation strategies.

PRI aims to test tools to enhance the coordination and directionality of regional, national and EU innovation policies to implement Europe’s green and digital transitions and to tackle the innovation divide in the EU. PRI will be firmly anchored in the EU policy framework, supporting the implementation of the European Green Deal, Horizon Europe, Cohesion policy and NextGenerationEU.

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