Gippsland Smart Specialisation Strategy

Taking a place based approach to innovation and sustainable regional development working with and for the local community.

Applying the ‘Smart Specialisation Strategy’ (S3) methodology pioneered in the European Union, this project initiated by the Victorian Latrobe Valley Authority brings together government, business, research and education and civil society in Gippsland to co-design a shared vision for the region’s future prosperity, environmental sustainability and social wellbeing.

Providing a framework for understanding Gippsland’s unique knowledge assets, expertise and strengths, the Gippsland S3 process seeks to leverage existing regional initiatives and identify new connections between stakeholders across the quadruple helix and industry sectors with the potential for innovation, resilience and global competitiveness.

The horticulture sector is the starting point for the mapping of the regional innovation ecosystem and the strengths and capabilities of the local economy and its community. An inclusive process of ‘entrepreneurial discovery’ will generate in-depth analysis and insights to demonstrate the potential of the S3 approach to develop connections within and between industry sectors.

Taking an integrated and systems approach to connect with other sectors such as health, the visitor economy, new energy, logistics and advanced manufacturing, the S3 process will focus on knowledge-based activities and infrastructure that can drive competitive advantages and foster activities which add sustainable value, productivity and employment.

Regional Innovation - Smart Specialisation Strategy

Developing a Smart Specialisation Strategy, using best practice and models from the European Union, will be an iterative process that is comprised of several phases:

  1. Analysis of regional context/potential
    • Map and assessment of existing regional assets and innovation ecosystem
    • Identify regional resources and existing specialities, institutional settings and competitive strength and weaknesses
  2. Governance - Participation and Collaboration
    • Wide engagement of regional stakeholders including policy-makers, business, research and education, community (quadruple helix approach)
    • Collaboration involving demand-side as well as supply side perspectives
  3. Designing a shared vision for the future – setting priorities
    • Through an entrepreneurial discovery process, formulating different scenarios and dialogue on future development paths for the region
    • Selection of limited number of regional priorities for specialisation, with growth and innovation potential and the capacity to build critical mass and be competitive
  4. Action plan for implementation
    • Develop an action plan of projects, platforms and leaders for each priority area
    • Alignment of policy support and frameworks at all levels of government
  5. Monitoring and evaluation
    • Developing a process to support and verify the implementation of the action plan
    • Ensuring the process results is oriented for the longer term, through continuous monitoring and review and adjustment where needed.

Related Publications

Ward, C. Shortis, E. Goedegeburre, L. & Wilson, B. (2020). Working hard to get energy-transition policy right: learning from Gippsland's Latrobe Valley efforts. The Mandarin.

Boschma, R., Coenen, L., Frenken, K., & Truffer, B. (2017). Towards a theory of regional diversification: combining insights from Evolutionary Economic Geography and Transition Studies. Regional Studies, 51(1), 31-45.

Coenen, L., Asheim, B., Bugge, M. M., & Herstad, S. J. (2017). Advancing regional innovation systems: What does evolutionary economic geography bring to the policy table?Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 35(4), 600-620.

Coenen, L., Moodysson, J., & Martin, H. (2015). Path renewal in old industrial regions: Possibilities and limitations for regional innovation policy. Regional Studies, 49(5), 850-865.

Campbell, S. & Coenen, L. (2017) Transitioning beyond coal: Lessons from the structural renewal of Europe’s old industrial regions.

Project Team

Professor Leo Goedgebuure
LH Martin Institute, University of Melbourne

Professor Bruce Wilson
RMIT Centre for Smart Specialisation

Dr Sebastian Fastenrath
MSSI, University of Melbourne

Dr Emma Shortis
RMIT Centre for Smart Specialisation

Dr Chloe Ward
RMIT, EU Centre of Excellence

Marian Schoen
University of Melbourne