The OECD have reviewed the collaboration that Region Värmland has with Karlstad University and which goes by the name Academy for smart specialisation. The collaboration covers all of Värmland’s smart areas of specialisation with research and innovation projects etc. The evaluation also extends to the innovation ecosystems and includes, above all, the clusters and incubator, but also other functions, test beds etc.
This is in summary how the OECD writes about the Academy’s significance: ”The Academy for Smart Specialisation has originated from a long lasting partnership between the regional government of Värmland and the University of Karlstad. Its aim is twofold: first, generate academic research and skills in areas that are relevant for regional competitiveness, as identified by Värmland’s Smart Specialisation Strategy; and second, generate advanced services that help enhance the region’s capacity in identifying emerging industries and key local assets.
Regarding the smart specialisation strategy itself, the following conclusion has been drawn:”Smart specialisation has been transformational in Värmland by promoting new specialisations and skills in the forest-based bioeconomy, ICT and care, smart industry and tourism for example. The smart specialisation concept is firmly rooted in Värmland’s approach to sustainable and inclusive growth and well-being, as reflected by its regional development strategy. The region managed to capitalise on existing strengths and generate new knowledge networks. Bringing clear priorities into the regional agenda has facilitated the allocation of available resources. The success of smart specialisation in Värmland owes to the institutional “mobilisation” of regional actors, political agencies and place-based leadership combined with high levels of trust and social capital in the region”
The evaluation of the Academy for Smart Specialisation was produced by the OECD’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE), with help by expertise and collaboration of Nordregio.
Raffaele Trapasso (Economist and Project Co-ordinator, CFE), co-ordinated and co-drafted the assessment in collaboration with Jukka Teräs, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, Linnea Löfving, Research Fellow at Nordregio, and Diana N. Huynh, Junior Research Fellow, Nordregio. Sandra Hannig (Policy Analyst, CFE).
External partner of the team was Denis Gauvreau, Director of Business Development and Innovation at Polytechnique Montreal, Canada.