In the previous couple of years I have been on and off “expert” for the Joint Research Committee of the European commission. As already mentioned in previous post the Joint Research Committees, is a scientific subcommittee that is there to find mathematical and logical laws behind the political decision that the EU bureaucrats are making. Most of the decision made are concerning the financing of the startup ecosystem in Western Balkans, something that is of great importance to me. So couple of times per year we gather somewhere around Western Balkans to discuss future projects and what help the states of the region need in order to increase their competitiveness, R&D and innovations efforts.
As Romania is taking the Presidency of the EU, and the Brussels bureaucrats are moving to Bucharest , the capital of Romania is becoming the decision place for everything related to EU funds and my this case money for innovation and R&D.
Some of the conclusions of this sterling committee and innovation enterprise week can be summarised as follows.
The smaller the country the better. With the process of smart specialisation, which the JRC is preaching for, the limited money that the EU has for developing innovation in Wester Balkans can be utilised the most.
But what , Smart specialisation what?
In simple words smart specialisation is the mathematical proof of what a country is good at. Moreover smart specialisation is bottoms up evidence based process that showcases the real potential that the country has. The whole data is based on the Harmonised System (Harmonisierte System — HS) which is administrated by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and is a description and coding system aimed at providing a worldwide uniform classification of goods and products.
For example you take up all products the to the sixth digit of the good’s HS number and compare the good or product on global level. The products and sub products categories that bring extraordinary returns JUST BECAUSE are from your country are the products that your country is good at producing, or your countries’ smart specialisation. A genuine example will be Swiss Watch, you are prepared to pay extra just because that watch is made in Switzerland, even though the mechanism is imported from Japan and most of the parts are made outside of Switzerland. In the import/export the watch being a Swiss product is considered an added value to the item.
On the other hand Smart specialisation is NOT INDUSTRIAL POLICY AND OR COMPETITIVENESS POLICY and it should not be mixed. At first glance what a country is good at can be misplaced with this two concepts which are more to do with branding than with evidence bottoms up approach that smart specialisation is.
If Macedonia wants to tap some of EU money from now on, the economists of this country should concentrate to find those 3 products and goods that are Macedonia’s smart specialisation. In baby words no smart specialisation — no money from now on!!!
AND last but not least, as the EU commissioner of innovation and science will say” we are good at making innovation out of EURO but we are not good at making EURO out of innovation” #innov4growth
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