Smart specialisation, Industry 4.0 and lagging regions: some directions for policy

Mariachiara Barzotto, Carlo Corradini, Felicia Fai, Sandrine Labory, Philip R. Tomlinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)


At the heart of the European Union’s innovation policy is Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) as embodied in the Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) programme. So far, RIS3’s efficacy on the revival of so-called lagging regions has been weak. This is in large part due to the weak initial endowments of technology, social/business networks, poor governance and institutional failures that typify lagging regions. This combination inhibits both the effectiveness of the programme and the ability of lagging regions to take advantage of the new opportunities proffered by Industry 4.0. This paper highlights some of these challenges and presents some policy directions for S3 and Industry 4.0 to deliver better regional cohesion and enhance inclusive growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-332
Number of pages15
JournalRegional Studies, Regional Science
Issue number1
Early online date25 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research was funded by the Regional Studies Association (RSA) under the RSA Expo grant scheme (1 September 2017–28 February 2019).


  • Industry 4.0
  • RIS3
  • Smart Specialisation
  • lagging regions
  • place-based policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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