Slovenia’s Smart Specialisation Strategy (S4) identifies national strategic development priorities and niches, which are, in practice, supported by a focused, comprehensive and tailored policy mix. The S4 introduces a new research and innovation cooperation model of key stakeholders. It enables Slovenia to integrate more successfully into European and international research and innovation networks, thematic platforms, and consortia. S4 implementation represents one of the main tools for strengthening and upgrading Slovenia’s innovation ecosystem. The S4 also introduces economic development clusters – Strategic Research and Innovation Partnerships (SRIPs).
With S4 implementation, Slovenia has renewed its policy mix to support innovation, from start-ups and initiatives through all technology readiness levels (TRL) to pilot and demonstration projects and financial instruments for commercialisation. This has resulted in the consolidation of a comprehensive and coherent policy mix and instruments and – in terms of content and timing – has led to more successful coordination between ministries and agencies in implementing their policies.
In the 2014-2020 programming period, S4 was a precondition for drawing on the EU funds available to Slovenia under the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy in the Period 2014-2020, under the priority axis “International competitiveness of research, innovation and technological development in line with smart specialisation for enhanced competitiveness and greening of the economy”.
Upgrading Slovenia’s Smart Specialisation Strategy
S4 remains the basis for Slovenia’s EU Cohesion Policy implementation in the 2021-2027 period. In line with EU regulations, national smart specialisation strategies should be updated and considered as an enabling condition for Policy Objective 1: “A Smarter Europe by promoting innovative and smart economic transformation”.
The Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy started the process of upgrading the S4 in January 2020 by focusing, in particular, on the revision of the necessary analyses and on the entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP).
We drafted the working material together with key ministries, namely the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Ministry of Public Administration, as well as with nine Slovenian Strategic Research and Innovation Partnerships (SRIPs). The documents were developed on the basis of the entrepreneurial discovery process that took place between September 2020 and February 2021.
Further concentration of focus areas and the relevant product lines will be based on the quantitative justification of market potentials provided by SRIPs for the proposed focus areas and product lines, as well as on the basis of the proposals and justifications presented in the frame of the public consultation.
The Government of the Republic of Slovenia took note of Slovenia’s Sustainable Smart Specialisation Strategy (S5) on 9 March 2023. By adopting the S5 Strategy, Slovenia has fulfilled the thematic enabling condition, set out in the EU Cohesion Regulations, and relating to the absorption of funds under Policy Objective 1 – A smarter Europe.