Representatives of the economic sector, scientific sphere and the government join forces in developing Slovenia’s Smart Specialisation Strategy
Ljubljana, 15 June 2015 – Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy (GODC) organised an investment conference on developing Slovenia’s Smart Specialisation Strategy. At the conference, which took place on 15 and 16 June in Kino Šiška in Ljubljana, over 400 actors in the field of Slovenia’s development discussed Slovenia’s key development priorities in terms of investing in research and development in the framework of the 2014-2020 European Cohesion Policy, and the areas where Slovenia has the critical mass of knowledge as well as the capacity to introduce and place this knowledge into the market. In the opening session of the conference the participants were addressed by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Miro Cerar and all three Line Minister responsible for RDI and European Cohesion Policy, namely Alenka Smerkolj, Minister responsible for development, strategic projects and cohesion, Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister responsible for economic development and technology, and Dr Maja Makovec Brenčič, Minister responsible for education, science and sport. The participants were also addressed by the representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, the Chamber of Craft and Small Businesses of Slovenia, Slovenian Rectors Conference, Coordination of Independent Research institutions of Slovenia and the representatives of OECD.
On 24 April 2015 Slovenia invited Slovenia’s economic and development actors to partake in the entrepreneurial discovery process and identify Slovenia’s high-potential technology areas and product directions. 170 groups of stakeholders responded to the invitation and 400 companies cooperated with each other or with the representatives of the scientific sphere. Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia Dr Miro Cerar welcomed such cooperation and underlined that Smart Specialisation Strategy is indeed one of Government’s priorities. The Prime Minister said that Slovenia lacks a shared vision and emphasized that the aim of the conference is to identify a shared direction which will “empower Slovenia with the much needed confidence and guidance which we lacked during the crisis” said Primer Minister.
The common denominator of all priority areas is sustainable technologies and services for a healthy life. “This is our vision and the direction where Slovenia is already being promoted as a green, active and healthy region as well as a digital region” said Minister Smerkolj. In this context she highlighted the following priorities:
- Healthy working and living environment, namely Smart cities and communities and Smart buildings and homes with the strengthening of Wood chains also being one of the relevant areas.
- In the field of Natural and traditional resources for the future we have vast potential in the field of Transition to circular economy, namely the use of secondary raw materials, development of new materials, treatment and energy management technologies. The second thematic set consists of two complementary areas related to Tourism and sustainable food production.
- The priority (S)Industry 4.0 is the most intensive in terms of economy. This is the priority where Slovenia has highest potential in the field of Smart factories, Medicine, Mobility and Development of materials as end products.
According to the Minister further concentration should be established within these areas. “This is why we have already made public the areas of focus which we perceive as the areas having the highest potential within these priorities” also said Minister Smerkolj.
The Minister said that the key element in identifying the priority areas is cooperation and strategic integration which the Government has managed to enhance as “certain development-related functions, which each company needs, can be accessed more affordably if acting together”. Their common denominator is development of joint RDI initiatives, internationalisation in terms of strengthening international cooperation, intensifying integration into international chains and networks and joint monitoring of global trends, and representation of the common interests of the state. “Strategic partnerships are focused on priority areas, which means that around 10 such partnership will be established, depending on today and tomorrow’s debate” said Minister Smerkolj. She also addressed the issue of innovation-related horizontal thematic areas and said that a National Innovation Platform will be established and will bring together all major players in the relevant areas. “This is where the initiatives such as the Slovenian Innovation Hub and Open Innovative Technologies, which would be merged into the mentioned platform, have potential. Slovenia should take full advantage of all of its potentials and we therefore need to act in a coordinated manner not only within individual regions but also at the level of all the participants, which in particular applies to scientific, research and educational sphere” also said the Minister responsible for development, strategic projects and cohesion.
Prime Minister Dr Miro Cerar said that the identified priorities will not only be supported in the framework of the research and innovation policy but will also be treated as a cross-sectoral issue. The identified priorities will be realised through economic diplomacy, establishing a visa regime, integration of the research sphere and the economic sector, provision of environmental and planning permits, active employment policy as well as public procurements, also said Prime Minister.
Slovenia plans to submit the Smart Specialisation Strategy to the European Commission in July 2015. After receiving European Commission comments, the Strategy will also be subject to review by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia.