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Smart Specialisation

Smart Specialisation made in Saxony

Triangle with three axes (economy, Key Enabling Technologies and future fields) illustrating the smart specialisation in Saxony.

(© SMWA)

The smart specialisation of the Free State of Saxony is the result of a strategy development process which is based on comprehensive analyses and intensive participation of numerous stakeholders. There is a broad consensus regarding the following points:

  • Saxony has a broad industry base with a long industrial tradition;
  • Saxony's strengths lie in its diverse R&D landscape;
  • Focusing too strongly on the present is not expedient for a specialisation regarding the dynamics that characterise innovation. Saxony must think and act future-oriented;
  • Innovations are increasingly the result of cooperation across sectors or technologies (e.g: microelectronics played a significant role in approx. 60 % of the innovations in the automotive industry).

Saxony's approach of »smart specialisation« was created on this basis. Axis A in the figure above reflects the Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) in which Saxony exhibits particular strengths (e.g. microelectronics, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing systems). Axis B illustrates the traditional sectors. They are the foundation of Saxony's economic system. This includes, in particular, highly innovative sectors such as mechanical engineering, automotive industry and electrical industry. Axis C represents promising future fields with a high potential for growth.

At the intersections of the connecting lines between these axes (schematically symbolised with diamonds), fields with challenging research topics and promising market potentials are expected to evolve. Innovations are being increasingly generated at these intersections. Some of the intersections have been recognised for years such as the intersection between mechanical engineering/vehicle construction and microelectronics, others, however, are just starting to establish themselves such as bioengineering as a combination of engineering-related competencies (one of Saxony's strengths) and excellent biotechnological knowledge. The creation and development of these »diamonds« is the core of Saxony's approach of »smart specialisation«. The Free State of Saxony will therefore support the players in Saxony's innovation system accordingly.

Saxony's smart specialisation is based on the following principles:

  • Openness with respect to sectors and technologies
    Every sector and every technology can generate innovations that positively affect revenues and employment. Therefore, openness with respect to the support of sectors and technologies carries great weight. For government support measures the economic and technological potential for the development of the Free State of Saxony will be decisive. Openness with respect to technology allows support of projects in areas where future development cannot currently be assessed, but might lead to the development of new sectors in the future. Since the risk of a successful market introduction is often particularly high with these new developments, public support should focus on these projects in particular. This policy should help to secure the technological diversity, one of Saxony’s particular strengths.
  • A mixture of diversity and specialisation
    Often, the sectoral structure and degree of specialisation are said to be of central significance for the performance and the future development of a region. However, numerous studies show that a high degree of specialisation in a region can also have a negative influence on the economic development (e.g. with respect to the employment growth in a region). In addition, the more specialised a region is, the more prone it is to exogenous shocks. Saxony's broad economic base has proven itself even during times of economic crisis. It is therefore very important for the region not to be dependent upon one sector or technology, but instead to have diversified strengths.

Marginalspalte

Smart Specialisation

»[Only in this way the regions will be able] to concentrate [their] efforts ...« + Symbol

»[Only in this way the regions will be able] to concentrate [their] efforts and resources on a limited number of priorities where [they] can really develop excellence and compete in the global economy« - sign

Source: European Commission (2011): Press release: Commission launches the "Smart Specialisation platform" to further boost innovation in the EU regions, IP/11/776

Holistic innovation concept

According to the conceptual differentiation by the Fraunhofer Institute for System and Innovation Research (ISI).Icon zoom in

Source: SMWA

* Product innovations: New products in the market, imitations, incremental innovations

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EFRE-ESF-logo

Source: SMWA

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