We are pleased to announce funding from the European Commission for a new Jean Monnet Network, which examines the role of the EU’s Smart Specialisation in linking scientific and social innovation, and how this can deliver global action to address societal challenges.
It is led by Professor Bruce Wilson, Director of the EU Centre at RMIT Melbourne, who is also an Honorary Professor in the School of Education here in Glasgow. The university’s Co-I is Professor Michael Osborne, Director of CR&DALL. Other partners are University of Canberra, INGENIO at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technical University in Singapore and University of Catania.
Smart Specialisation is a direct outcome of European integration and the EU’s economic, social and environmental agenda for a future Europe. It links closely with the EU’s commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The core question for the Network is: how has European integration enabled deep understanding of how regional innovation can deliver action on societal challenges in Europe and across the globe?
Experience over the past five years in implementing Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) in EU regions has demonstrated that science and technology innovation can address societal challenges in regions. Yet the EU has also experienced the limitations of Science Technology and Innovation (STI) and recognised the importance of socio-ecological innovation.
The Network will address these issues by:
- Aligning key researchers to produce a consolidated overview and analysis of the EU’s learning about place-based innovation and its relevance to addressing societal challenges;
- Consolidating knowledge to assess the relative importance of STI and socio-ecological innovation, thus informing policy and program development;
- Enhancing linkages amongst researchers and policymakers; and
- Developing open-access resources for teaching about the EU’s global role in promoting innovation.
The Network includes early and mid-career researchers. Specific activities will engage postgraduate and ECRs. Hence, the Network will help develop a new generation of EU scholars who could speak authoritatively about the EU’s global role in addressing societal challenges.
The Network’s outputs will be materials directed at communication; policy briefings to assist decision-making; and specific learning activities for young researchers. Its major outcomes will be achieved through direct engagement with policy makers, young researchers and other scholars.