The Challenges of Smart Specialization Strategies and the Role of Entrepreneurial Universities: A New Competitive Paradigm

The Challenges of Smart Specialization Strategies and the Role of Entrepreneurial Universities: A New Competitive Paradigm

Domingos Santos (Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco, Portugal & New University of Lisbon, Portugal) and Nuno Caseiro (Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8348-8.ch029
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This chapter explores the relation between the concepts of entrepreneurial universities (EU) within the framework of Smart Specialization Strategies (S3). The latter is arising as a new competitive paradigm and universities can be of great importance for its successful implementation because of their contribution both as a partner institution, policy actor and producer of knowledge and social capital that can affect the potential for economic growth and development of regions. The links and contributions of both dimensions are presented and explored. As a final point, the concept of entrepreneurial ecosystem is presented as a consequence and future development of the dynamics resulting S3 and entrepreneurial universities interactions.
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To be competitive in the global arena regions must be capable of develop key capabilities in the exploitations of their resources and strengths. Smart specialization strategies are a new approach to the problem of competitiveness and differentiation in global arena assuming that the “one size fits all” model cannot be the solution to the problem.

To accomplish this, higher education institutions are key partners as a driver to innovation, knowledge and social capital building and valuation. The links between the entrepreneurial university paradigm and the implementation of smart specialization strategies are thus discussed as a means to deepen the understanding of this institutional, entrepreneurial and territorial dynamics that is evolving towards a new competitive paradigm based on knowledge and innovation.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Knowledge Production: Refers to the cluster of related activities in a higher education institution, a research centre or an enterprise that has to do with producing new knowledge.

Regional Development: Seeks to better understand the issues and problems facing the regions because of the contemporary economic and social changes, including the formulation of territorial policies accordingly.

Knowledge Transfer: Is the means by which scientific and technological knowledge and know-how are transferred from a knowledge-base organization to those in need of that asset.

Smart Specialization Strategies or RIS 3 (Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialization): Refer to the combination of industrial, educational and innovation policies that suggest that countries or regions identify and select a limited number of priority areas for knowledge-based investments, according to their strengths and comparative advantages. It constitutes essentially a strategic approach to economic development through targeted support for research and innovation.

Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Refer to the components – individuals, enterprises, institutions, resource and information availability, culture or legal mechanisms – outside the entrepreneur that are conducive to, or inhibitive of, the choice of an individual to become an entrepreneur, or the probabilities of his or her success following start.

Social Capital: Refers to the community value of the social networks and the patterns of reciprocity that come up from these networks to do things for each other that can leverage initiatives or projects.

Entrepreneurial Universities: Are those higher education institutions that clearly define strategies and tools to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, constantly adjusting to learning and knowledge transfer opportunities at regional, national and international levels.

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