What does “RIS3” stand for?

“RIS3” stands for “Regional Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialization.”

RIS3 is an innovative and participatory concept for strategically promoting regional growth and development. The objective is to design a strategy that allows a given region to concentrate on its core strengths while further reinforcing them in targeted fashion through an “entrepreneurial process of discovery.” The progress made towards the corresponding development targets is then tracked by means of a monitoring and evaluation system.


In the summer of 2010, the Council of Europe formally adopted the growth strategy known as “Europe 2020” in order to promote smart, sustainable, and integrative growth throughout the whole of Europe. The EU Commission then followed up by calling upon each of the 271 European regions to elaborate their own “Regional Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization (RIS3).” The objective was to ensure that the dwindling EU Structural Funds could be put to more effective use, while also encouraging each region to develop a distinct specialization profile.

Thus, the submission of an RIS3 is a precondition for tapping into the subsidies for research, development, and innovation granted under the European Fund for Regional Development during the 2014 – 2020 funding period.´

The EU Commission has published an RIS3 Guide for the proper elaboration and implementation of these innovation strategies, which is available via the following link:

RIS3 Guide (PDF, 1,3 MB)
The EU Commission has also created an “S3 Platform” to assist EU countries and regions in the development and implementation of their strategy and to promote networking among regions:

S3 Platform of the European Commission