Smart Specialisation Strategy


logo S3

As part of the medium to long-term planning process of the 15th legislature, and in line with the main community documents identifying broader national and European strategy, the Autonomous Province of Trento has also defined the provincial Smart Specialisation Strategy in the field of research and innovation (RIS3), establishing the priority sectors of interest.

Adopting a research and innovation strategy means focusing on production sectors and technological environments considered to be strategic at local level, avoiding scattered funding, but rather focusing on economic investment and policy support for certain priority areas offering the potential for excellence, promoting realistic and viable innovation strategies and responding more effectively to social and economic challenges.

The Autonomous Province of Trento’s Smart Specialisation Strategy was drawn up in 2014 and supplemented in 2016 in relation to implementation, monitoring and evaluation (provincial government resolution n° 606 of 22 April 2016).

Through a bottom-up approach involving players in the world of research and innovation, and on the basis of the characteristics of the area, the strategy has made it possible to identify the investment carried out in the last few years and the results obtained in terms of participation in national and international networks, local coverage and future development paths in productive and economic terms. This has led to enhancement of the sectors in which the technology resulting from the research activities can be adopted/implemented in the local area to innovate and develop, through appropriate infrastructures, the development of collaboration with other research institutes and the public-private sector partnerships already active.

The following four macro-areas have been identified in particular:


On the one hand these sectors respond to a desire to enhance competitiveness and the specific nature of the production and technical-scientific system in Trentino and on the other, the will to promote sustainable development. It has also been recognised that Trentino has certain key elements characterising all the specialist subject areas across the board: digital development and ICT, social cohesion and capital, and social innovation. In-depth analysis has been carried out for all these areas to assess the importance of ICT and enabling technology (such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, micro-nano electronics and photonics for example), existing strong points, weaknesses, threats and opportunities and alignment with the main initiatives and programmes existing at national and European level.

Diagram summarising SMART sectors

Settori della smart specialisation


Link to the smart specialisation document approved by the Province



While having various points of contact, convergence and synergy with the Long-term Research Plan, the Smart Specialisation Strategy does not replicate the LRP, but rather positions itself synergistically in the subsequent phase of the research-innovation-market production chain, also attempting to remedy the main defect of the Trentino research system. The main focus of the RIS3 is indeed policy for industrial research and innovation (TRL > 5/61), and the application and transfer of the results obtained by research to the area in the medium-long term, coinciding with the 2014-2020 seven-year European Community programme, in the context of integration with existing research and innovation policy at national and European level.

1 TRL refers to the classification of Technology Readiness Level, an index of the level of technological maturity used by various international bodies and institutions, including the European Commission.



The key criteria that have informed choices include: the representativeness of sectors of considerable importance and economic impact, coherence with significant public and private sector investment in innovation, the considerable critical mass present in the area, excellence recognised at national and European level, competitive advantage, a broad interpretation of the concept of innovation that involves the private sector fully, and prospects for particularly significant market development. The areas, with all their reciprocal interrelationships, are in line with across-the-board area priorities, starting from the diffusion of key technologies enabling  innovation and social cohesion.

The ongoing construction of frameworks of interrelationships between demand, institutional parties entrusted with responding and policy for the sector, capable of acting positively to potentially solve the critical areas highlighted will help to establish various elements, such as the infrastructures to be implemented, the scale of priorities, the most appropriate type of action for the specific geographical dimension, and action to be promoted for security, innovation, social and environmental policy, for example.


The concept of Smart Specialisation Strategy was developed at European level and indicates innovative strategies – flexible and dynamic – conceived at regional level but evaluated and implemented systematically at national level with the objective of:

  • avoiding fragmentation in terms of intervention,  adopting systematic policy on research and innovation;
  • developing regional innovation strategies that promote production fields of excellence, taking into account strategic area positioning and prospects for development in the global economic context.

As a pre-condition for the use of community resources, the new Cohesion Policy 2014/2020 programming period provides for national and regional authorities preparing research and innovation strategies for “smart specialisation”, in order to allow more efficient use of structural funds and promote an increase in synergy between European Community, national and regional policy. The regions of all the member states have thus been called on to draw up a document that outlines their Smart Specialisation Strategy, starting from the resources and capabilities they have available, identifying competitive advantages and the technological specialisations most coherent with the potential for innovation, specifying the public and private sector investment necessary to support the strategy.


Progetto S3-4AlpClusters – Smart Specialisation Strategies to build an innovation model for Alp Clusters

The Autonomous Province of Trento participates in the European project S3-4AlpClusters – Smart Specialisation Strategies to build an innovation model for Alp Clusters, funded by the program INTERREG Alpine Space. 

The project intends to improve the ability of the regions of the Alpine Space to implement innovation policies in economic development through the clusters, sharing effective models and tools for the implementation of the "Strategies for Research and Innovation for Intelligent Specialization" (RIS3) regional and activating pilot initiatives in the priority areas for the Alpine Space program.

The project has a duration of 30 months (1 November 2016 - 30 April 2019) with a total budget of 2.521.964€, of which 1.929.500 € of contribution FESR.

For more information:


For more information: the process of constructing the provincial strategy –  European Department, Autonomous Province of Trento