The Southern Regional Assembly (SRA) are delighted to officially publish the report on ‘A Regional Approach to Smart Specialisation’. Smart Specialisation is about ‘specialising in a smart way’ and aims to boost regional innovation by helping and enabling regions to focus on their strengths. It requires smart strategic choices, evidence-based policymaking and the strengthening of enterprise engagement with academic research.

Click here to listen to Hernán Pájaro from BABLE Smart Cities, an S3 expert, outlining the importance of Smart Specialisation in our region.


In January 2020, the SRA published the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Southern Region. This is a 12-year statutory strategic regional development framework for our Region and sets out our ambition to become one of the most Creative & Innovative, Greenest and Liveable regions in Europe and recognises smart specialisation as key to achieving this. It focuses on measures to improve our attractiveness as a location for national and foreign investment and aims to increase entrepreneurial activity.

Thanks to smart specialisation, 40 billion euros of ERDF funding have been invested in R&I(Research and Innovation) projects to date. Going forward Smart Specialisation will continue to be key to accessing funding as an enabling condition to ERDF funding which is expected to absorb 80 out of the 200 billion euros of the Cohesion Policy under the objective of ‘A Smarter Europe’. To leverage this funding the Southern Region must specialise in a smart way.

Through the Interreg Europe funded COHES3ION project the SRA collaborated with Bable Consultancy on this report which lays the foundation for the region’s approach to Smart Specialisation and recommends priority areas for the region to focus its efforts. This report details the findings of the initial step that the Southern Region is undertaking towards defining a regional approach to Smart Specialisation by identifying priority areas for the Southern Region through an evidence-based and participatory approach. The strategy builds on the findings of the Irish National S3 for Research and Innovation published in 2014 currently under review and the advisory report on the Irish RIS3.

S3 provides an opportunity to shape a real and meaningful transformation agenda for the region. If implemented correctly Smart Specialisation also presents a tool for shaping the regions recovery process based on the particular advantages and the strengths of the region, taking account of the capacities and ambitions of local communities in our unique mix of urban and rural landscapes. It is a tool that brings together knowledge from science, market, innovation built on the knowledge and values of the communities.

Read here for full report on a Regional Approach to Smart Specialisation


The SRA are partners on the Interreg Europe COHES3ION project, which is looking at the integration of the regional dimension into Smart Specialisation Strategies, which will assist in identifying regional Smart Priorities and strengthening the regional coordination of innovation delivery and support players.

COHES3ION is part-funded by the Interreg Europe Programme, through the European Regional Development Fund and is led by BEAZ S.A.U., Spain.   

The project will run until January 2023, find out more about COHES3ION here.


For further information please contact the Southern Regional Assembly:

Project Contact: Karen Coughlan, EU Projects Officer