Capacity-building barriers to S3 implementation: An empirical framework for catch-up regions

George Papamichail, Alessandro Rosiello, David Wield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we investigate the implementation challenge of Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) in catch-up regional environments, through the lens of capacity building. We analyse capacity building at two levels: micro-level (individual organisations) and meso-level (regional inter-organisational networks). We use empirical evidence from 50 interviews conducted in the period 2015-17 from two Greek regions dramatically hit by the economic crisis (Crete and Central Macedonia). We argue that in the Cretan and Central Macedonian context, the difficulty of implementing S3 is directly linked with firms’ lack of adsorptive capability to exploit university-generated knowledge, university knowledge that is too abstract for firm’s to easily acquire, as well as to the capability of regional actors to build inter-organisational networking that fits their strategic needs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalInnovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research
Early online date26 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2018


  • capacity building
  • catch-up regions
  • smart specialisation
  • S3
  • Crete
  • Central Macedonia


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