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Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3)

EUA is engaged actively and recognised as a main European Stakeholder in representing universities’ interests in the development of the new EU research and innovation funding programme for the period 2014-2020, Horizon 2020. EUA attaches also crucial importance to the need to achieve greater synergy between the future Horizon 2020 programme and the high priority given by the European Commission to the use of European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) and European Social Fund (ESF) to support research and innovation activities. An enhanced role for Europe’s universities in the implementation of the ERDF/ESF actions is advocated by EUA and this is being pursued in its work with the European Commission on the Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3).

In 2012, EUA set up a delegation of university leaders to participate at an event jointly organised by EUA and the Smart Specialisation Platform (S3) of the Joint Research Center in Seville, Spain (February 2013). The outcomes of this workshop were reflected in a report on ‘The role of universities in Smart Specialisation’, which was used as a basis to organise the Smart Specialisation event that took place in Brussels in June 2014, in which high-level officials of the EC encouraged and fully supported the active role of universities in defining and implementing RIS3. As an outcome of this event, a joint statement between EUA and the JRC was published in July 2014.

EUA aims to continue to support institutions in the implementation and follow-up of Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3), and to coordinate policy input to the ‘European Structural and Investment Funds Structured Dialogue Expert Group’ (ESIF-SD) established by DG Regio, which reports to the European Commission and the European Parliament.

EUA has recently set up an Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). This group is part of the research and innovation consultative structures in EUA.

EUA-Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3)

In January 2015, the EUA Council decided to continue its activities in the field of Smart Specialisation (RIS3) in close collaboration with its NRCs, and agreed to resume the work of the Expert Group on RIS3. Its aim is to support institutions in the implementation and follow-up of Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation, and to coordinate policy input to the European Institutions. In particular, policy input is provided through the EUA representation in the ‘European Structural and Investment Funds Structured Dialogue Expert Group’ (ESIF-SD Expert Group) established by DG Regio, which reports to the European Commission and the European Parliament. Professor Peter Haring-Bolivar (University of Siegen, Germany), and Professor Ray O’Neill (Ireland), represent EUA in the ESIF-SD Expert Group.

Formally, the RIS3 Expert Group activities started in November 2015. The Expert Group reports to the EUA Research Policy Working Group (RPWG) and to the EUA Council. A list of the members of the expert group is available below.

The EUA-Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) has the following terms of reference: 

1. The status of the Expert Group is that of an Advisory body appointed by the EUA Council. The Expert Group reports to the Research Policy Working Group (RPWG) and to the EUA Council.

2. Membership is based on nominations by the National Rectors’ Conferences. Nominees should have institutional responsibility or have been designated to play a representative role on behalf of universities. Moreover, they should have substantial knowledge and experience in specific areas related to the remit of the Expert Group.

3. Membership should be normally for three years, with possibility of one three-year extension to ensure a degree of continuity.

4. The main objectives of the Expert Group are (i) to examine and review the broader issues related to the Expert Group’s remit/areas of focus; (ii) to advise on the preparation of EUA activities, positions and/or statements related to the areas of focus of the Expert Group; (iii) to promote linkages with other organisations, related to the areas of focus of the Expert Group; (iv) to strengthen the position of Europe’s universities as main stakeholders in the specific policy areas of the Expert Group.

5. In addition, the Expert Group establishes and maintains a working dialogue with the European Commission and with other major stakeholders in research and innovation policy in its areas of expertise. 

The list of members of the EUA-Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) is available here.

European University Association (EUA)

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