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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper
Cohesion Policy Incentives for Collaborative Industrial Research. The Evaluation of a Smart Specialisation Forerunner Programme
Riccardo Crescenzi, Mara Giua and Guido de Blasio February 2018
Paper No' SERCDP0231:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: O18; R11; R58

Tags: cohesion policy; smart specialisation; policy evaluation; innovation; european union

This paper evaluates a program of subsidies for Collaborative Industrial Research (co-) funded by the EU Cohesion Policy in Italy mobilizing over 1 billion euros. This program anticipated in the 2007-2013 funding cycle some of the key features of Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) programmes, offering evidence-based insights on potential challenges to the practical application of the S3 approach. The programme was not successful in boosting investments, value added or employment of beneficiary firms. The collaborative dimension of the projects added limited value and a more generous level funding would have not improved effectiveness. However, positive impacts emerged in low tech sectors.