This Progress Report outlines our analytical framework for Smart Specialisation in England.
- Smart Specialisation is a strategy that aspires to promote local economic growth in innovation, and seeks to enhance collaboration between business, higher education and public sector stakeholders. Its aim is the pursuit of comparative advantage – focusing investment on areas of real local strength, as supported by analysis and driven by bottom-up entrepreneurial discovery – to build productivity, resilience, and diversity into local economies.
- This aspiration was followed through by Government with the establishment of a Smart Specialisation Hub jointly delivered by the National Centre for Universities and Business and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). The Hub aims to provide an evidence base to inform better investment decisions in innovation, and use Smart Specialisation approaches to mobilise collaboration between Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and other stakeholders across geographical boundaries and sectors.
- Measuring innovation involves using a range of indicators to capture the series of inputs (e.g. funding and human capital) and outputs (e.g. knowledge outputs from research, innovative products, services, and processes) that encompass the innovation process, and the interactions between them.
- Following a period of data curation, we selected thirty such indicators reflecting local and national performance in innovation at LEP level. A pilot analytical framework has been developed as a first step toward profiling and comparing innovation performance, and is structured around different actors. This includes research/Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), business/industry, and the wider LEP environment, what they each contribute to the innovation ecosystem in terms of funding, talent, and observable outputs.