The first EPRC webinar of the 2021 was held January 20th (12:00 – 13:00 UK) over Zoom. Dr. Alexandra Polido, of the University of Aveiro (PT), presented a paper on ‘Sustainable Development Discourse in Smart Specialisation Strategies: The Case of the Portuguese Centro Region’.

In her presentation, Polido provided an overview of the research designed involved in coding the RIS3 of the Centro region and matching it with Sustainable Development Goals. Results show that the Centro Smart Specialization Strategy has a strong alignment with the goals related with economic and environmental issues, although disregarding social aspects. These findings are amplified by the fact that this strategy is mainly being implemented through projects financed under the economy pillar. Finally, there is evidence on the need to develop regional innovation policies towards sustainable development from the regional to the national level. Polido highlights it is critical to enlarge the debate on how Smart Specialization Strategies can be an effective engine for a new development trajectory for European regions assuming the Agenda 2030 as a framework for the necessary change.

(Note this research was published here.  Co-authors: Sara Moreno Pires, Carlos Rodrigues and Filipe Teles)

Alexandra Polido is a researcher working in the research unit on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies (GOVCOPP), of the University of Aveiro. She has a PhD in Environment and Sustainability Sciences and an MSc in Environmental Engineering both from the NOVA University of Lisbon. She recently started a project entitled “Power in the institutional relations of Environmental Assessment through the practitioners’ lens”, funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. Previously, Alexandra developed research related with Community-led Network for Territorial Innovation in the CeNTER project which aims to identify the policy tools which best allow for the valorisation of territorial resources to promote employment and quality of life in the Portuguese Centro Region.

Dr. Polido’s presentation can be accessed here, and the recording of the webinar can be viewed on the EPRC’s YouTube page here.

Our next webinar will take place Wednesday February 3rd, when EPRC’s Martin Ferry will present on the 15-minute city. Future EPRC webinars will delve on topics of regional policy and development.

If you would like to attend, watch out for updates and registrations by following @eprc_eu on Twitter