Smart Masovia

The objectives of the self-government Masovian Voivodeship innovation programme have been identified in the Regional Innovation Strategy for Masovia. The first edition of this document was established in 2008 and covered the period of 2007-2015. Since the second half of 2012, measures have been taken to update the strategy. New Regional Innovation Strategy for Mazowsze 2020 (RIS Masovia) was adopted in March 2015.

What were the reasons for updating this document?

The need for changes resulted from the adoption of new strategic documents on the European level, such as the ”Europe 2020” strategy, the ”Innovation Union” flagship and ”European Digital Agenda”. The second reason is connected with the effects of the review of strategic documents on the regional level, which was carried out in connection with Masovian preparation to implement European funds as a part of the new financial perspective. The most important changes in the RIS Masovian include:

  • identification and implementation of smart specialisation;
  • inclusion of social innovation;
  • defining assumptions of cluster policy in the region;
  • inclusion of the issues of the information society;
  • continuation of e-development of Masovian Voivodeship strategy, which until now functioned as a separate strategy.

Smart specialisation

The new financial perspective 2014-2020 constitutes a new challenge for the beneficiaries of operational programmes financed from EU funds, but also for regional authorities. One of the preconditions for support from the Regional Operational Programme of Masovian Voivodeship for 2014-2020 (RPO WM 2014-2020) for activities related to research and development is to implement the concept of ”smart specialisation”. According to what the European Commission (EC) represents, the concept of ”smart specialisation” implies focusing resources in areas with the greatest development potential in the region. This means focusing efforts and resources on those areas in which support would bring the greatest added value and which would help to increase the competitiveness of the region. The EC has not identified a single, consistent definition of smart specialisation nor the uniform methodology for the identification of the areas, thus challenging the regions to find the optimal path for these proceedings. In order to participate actively in achieving the objectives of the ”Europe 2020” and to enable the Masovian operators to benefit from European funds intended for research and development, the region’s authorities together with entrepreneurs, representatives of scientific and business environment intuition have developed areas of smart specialization of Masovia. Their identification was divided into the following stages:

  • diagnosis of the areas with the greatest endogenous potential;
  • meetings with businessmen and representatives of scientific and business environment;
  • gathering insights on directions of innovation development in the region;
  • conducting surveys on the regional smart specialisation;
  • prioritization of areas of action.

In each individual step, a number of activities were undertaken, including research and analysis, which served to diagnose of the state of innovation in the Masovia region. It should be emphasized that the activities conducted in Masovia region assumed a bottom-up identification of areas of specialisation and therefore they comprised working meetings and workshops throughout the region and were concerned with the identification of potentials and development deficits of the region. They also included open meetings in the sub-regions centers, individual consultation work and public consultation. In the process of identifying areas of smart specialisation different groups of stakeholders along with representatives of entrepreneurs, clusters, academic institutions and business support institutions have been involved. In addition, the process has involved a wide range of experts, including representatives of Innovation Council of Masovia.

While identifying areas of smart specialisation, the characteristics and needs of Masovia have been taken into consideration and yield the following assumptions:

  • smart specialisation (SS) intends to focus the resources of knowledge in the region on a limited number of economic objectives, which will allow the efficient use of funds from various sources by giving a common direction to actions taken at various levels;
  • SS is understood as a process that applies not only to the economic potential of the region, but also requires building a system to support innovation, including interventions in the field of business, the environment, science, public administration and society;
  • SS should combine the development priorities of local authorities with the real needs of local stakeholders, in particular businesses, therefore, needs to ensure the active participation of stakeholders in the identification, implementation, monitoring and changing smart specialisation.

The conducted activities have identified a set of the most promising sectors of the economy, technology and service processes in the region. Then, by analyzing the links and feedbacks between different economic areas and leading technologies, four areas of smart specialisation were selected: „high quality of life”, „food safety”, „intelligent management systems”, „modern services for business”.

The fulfillment of the conditions imposed by the European Commission is required to ensure the active participation of various groups of stakeholders, especially businesses, in the processes of programming, monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the support for smart specialisation. For this purpose, regional authorities have set up working groups dedicated to particular areas of smart specialisation. Their tasks include, among others, targeting of support in line with the current needs of the economy, as well as supporting the regional authorities in the process of managing and monitoring the RIS Masovia. Smart specialisation will participate in consultations on supporting instruments within specialisation (e.g. assumptions of competitions, project selection criterions - proposals on conditions of support of the SS regions in Regional Operational Programme of Masovian Voivodeship for 2014-2020).

 

What is the impact of smart specialisation in Masovia on finance innovation in the 2014-2020 perspective, with public funds, including EU funds?

As it was mentioned earlier, for regional authorities would be able to provide support for research and development, it was necessary to identify areas of smart specialisation. Applicants who fit into the area of smart specialisation will be able to apply for support under the I Priority Axis. When concerning some types of operations under Measure 1.2, this compliance shall be verified on two levels as compliance with one or more of the areas of smart specialisation and as compliance with the study objectives. The term “priority directions of research” (research agendas) should be understood as a detailed clarification of R&D areas that will have the greatest impact on the innovative development of the company. Research Agenda was developed by working groups for smart specialisation. The adoption of the first research agendas took place in the fourth quarter of 2015. This allowed to announce of competitions at the beginning of 2016, where compliance with the priority directions of the research was required. At the same time, it has to be underlined that in case of Priority Axis, it is planned that ventures undertaken in areas compliant with the specialisation and complementary to the agreed development direction are going to be favored.

Cluster policy

Being a part of the Regional Innovation Strategy for Masovia 2020, we determined the assumptions for cluster policy by identifying areas of support and dedicated tools for clusters. The research in the context of updating the RIS Masovia allows the formulation of synthetic characteristics of Masovia cluster initiatives:

  • clusters in Masovia are characterized by their great diversity, in a similar or even the same business area there are several initiatives operating;
  • most of the initiatives are in the early stages of development, taking into account the time of functioning and dynamics of the processes taking place in their structures;
  • an analysis of the profile of clusters in Masovia services indicates the nature of the subjects of study;
  • clusters of respondents branch structure are characterized by a preponderance of the structures derived from two sectors: medical and information technology;
  • human capital should be considered as a key resource in the current state of development of Masovia cluster (including the so-called tacit knowledge) located in Cluster entities and intellectual property invested in individual clusters.

According to the adopted assemblies, key regional clusters will be selected at regional level as the clusters with the greatest competitive potential. Bearing in mind the concept of smart specialisation, support will be provided to clusters that fit into the areas of smart specialisation in the region, which will contribute to the optimization of public support. The support will depend on the development phase of the cluster/cluster initiative. Support for cluster initiative will take place at two levels:

level 1: support aimed at animators (BEI) and coordinators to increase internationalization and innovation
clusters and strengthen their competitiveness in the process of applying international instruments’ support;

level 2: support for entrepreneurs included in a cluster to implement projects designed to achieve a certain effect of the market.

The self-government of Masovia Voivodeship will stand as a coordinator of the cluster’s policy, which won’t be a part of the cluster or its initiatives. The selection of key regional clusters is scheduled for the 4th quarter of 2015. One of the benefits of having the status of regional cluster are key preferences in competitions announced as part of RPO WM 2014-2020, in which the possibility of applying for funding will be directed to a group of beneficiaries defined as cooperative relations. An additional benefit will be the opportunity to participate in the initiatives undertaken by the regional authorities in the context of non-competitive projects financed by the RPO WM 2014-2020.

Bearing in mind the limitations that have emerged in the field of cluster support from EU funds in the 2014-2020 perspective and which developed the instrument for cluster support from Masovia’s own budget, this mechanism will be implemented in the form of an open tender for the implementation of public tasks, regional authorities related to the promotion of innovation. The competition is planned for the amount of PLN 300.000 in 2016. Funds will be used for the promotion and development of clusters/cluster initiatives and for strengthening their competitive position on the market, by strengthening cooperation between science and business. The contest announcement date is set for the first quarter of 2016. Information about the contest will be available at: www.dialog.mazovia.pl and www.ris.mazovia.pl.

Regional innovation support system

The regional innovation support system consists of all the mechanisms and instruments, which initiator, animator or executor belongs to the self-government Masovia Voivodeship. In 2014-2020, the self-government Masovia Voivodeship will carry out two projects under The RPO WM 2014-2020. The first project was planned under Measure 1.2. It assumed strengthening of the projects, which contribute to the increase of entrepreneurial activity to undertake R&D and innovation through cooperation with other actors of the regional innovation system and strengthening the process of the entrepreneurial discovery. This support will be implemented through cooperation, exchange of information, strengthening of the transfer of knowledge and technology from R&D to companies operating in specialist areas, as well as through the promotion of innovation and international cooperation.

Another project planned for Measure 3.1. will focus on the integration of existing BEI services, including, among others, product development, access to capital, specialist consultancy for SMEs. The role of regional authorities is to animate cooperation, develop and initiate with BEI and business solutions to achieve this goal.

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