Guide for smart specialisation

The Online S3 platform provides free online tools and guidance for creating and revising a regional/national smart specialisation strategy.

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We offer a full practical guide on RIS3 and its development process, supported with explanatory case-examples from European regions.

29 online tools

We provide an extensive set of online tools and clear visual guides that support conducting all parts of the RIS3 process.


Forums are for sharing and discussing regional experiences on the RIS3 and the platform.

RIS3 stands for National/regional research and innovation strategy for smart specialisation

Regional Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) are an ex-ante condition for ERDF EU funding.

What is RIS3?

National/regional research and innovation strategy for smart specialisation (RIS3) is a rather new policy concept adopted by the European Union. It has made its way into the EU’s cohesion policy and become a precondition for all EU regions to receive funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Consequently, regions of Europe are now actively forming and revising their own strategies.

Smart specialisation is about identifying the region’s key activities, areas or technological domains that provide a competitive advantage in the global context, and focusing efforts on those. In other words, R&D and innovation funding shouldn’t be spread thinly across several technology areas but rather on carefully selected priority areas that provide an inter-regional comparative advantage.

Online S3 platform, a Horizon 2020 Project

Nonprofit and open access

The Online S3 platform has been created by a Horizon 2020 funded project called ‘ONLINE-S3’. The project is nonprofit and open access. This means that the platform, tools and other features are freely accessible by everyone. 

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