From RIS3 to S4Andalucía

An intervention-logic approach for the design and implementation of S3 strategies: from place-based assets to expected impacts (JRC Science for Policy Report, 2021)

The transition between financing periods 2014-2020 and 2021-2027 is the right time to rethink past and future regional strategies. The next generation of Smart Specialisation Strategies is open to the opportunity to incorporate new European industrial policy guiding growth policy within the framework of the European Green Deal in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals. An evolution from the bottom-up approach of the period 2014-2020 to a combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches, using the new concept aimed at the mission of European innovation policy, offers new opportunities for the next generation of smart specialisation strategies.

New European Framework: Cohesion Policy 2021-2027

In the socio-economic context triggered by the COVID crisis, Andalusia has the opportunity to adapt its smart specialisation strategy to the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Cohesion Policy of the period 2021-2027, in order to adjust to the new requirements and the new Enabling Conditions which the European Commission has defined regarding each political objective, in order to access European funds, such as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Complying with these conditions will be required throughout the entire period 2021-2027.

For Political Objective 1 ‘A smarter Europe, promoting an economic, innovative and smart transformation’ of the ERDF, the condition has been called ‘Good Governance of the national or regional smart specialisation strategy’. RIS3Andalucía from the previous period 2014-2020 in 2019 had a high degree of compliance with the seven criteria for this Good Governance, according to the analysis conducted in the Intermediate Evaluation:

Furthermore, the Intermediate Evaluation of RIS3 Andalucía is already making progress in the need to improve its Governance, reinforce the Follow-up and Evaluation Plan to increase its utility, and resolve its deficiencies and update the Entrepreneur Discovery process.

What is S4Andalucia 2021-2027? The new RIS3 for Andalusia

The Governing Council of the Autonomous Government of Andalusia has given the green light to the formulation of the new Smart Specialisation Strategy for the Sustainability of Andalusia for the period 2021-2027, the new S4Andalucia, which will give continuity to RIS3Andalucia from the previous period 2014-2020. (link to news)

According to the approved Formulation agreement, S4 Andalucía is the “basic instrument for the planning, execution, development and evaluation of public activities developed with regard to Research, Innovation and Industrial Transition, with a cross-cutting perspective of fighting Climate Change, within the European Cohesion Framework 2021-2027” and will be approved by the Governing Council of the Autonomous Government of Andalusia.

Guiding principles

  • Cooperation: intergovernmental, interdepartmental and public-private, in order to establish more horizontal management processes.
  • Participation of all the agents of the Andalusian innovation ecosystem.
  • Transparency, open government in the preparation, publication, access to information, design and startup of the Strategy.
  • International cooperation. Reinforcement of the foreign dimension and the internationalisation of the Andalusian innovation ecosystem for the active inclusion of Andalusian actors in European and global value chains and strategic industrial ecosystems.
  • Comprehensive evaluability according to consistency, efficiency and efficacy criteria, among others.


S4 will set out the general objectives, the preparation timeframe, the mechanisms, procedures and methodologies for the execution of its activities, as well as the basic evaluation and follow-up instruments:

  • SWOT diagnosis which identifies the problems, needs and challenges, based on contrastable indicators, taking into account the integrated gender approach and the causal analysis.
  • Intervention logic, strategic and specific objectives with goals in accordance with the economic, social and environmental planning of the Autonomous Government of Andalusia.
  • Definition of strategic lines, programmes, measures and instruments necessary to achieve the proposed objectives, improve the regional R&I system, manage the industrial transition and drive International cooperation with assignment of competences.
  • System of participatory governance which includes representatives of companies, research associations and Public Administration, civil society and the market, within the framework of a continuous, effective and efficient entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP).
  • Evaluation and Follow-up System: indicators panel, dashboard and timeline, and associated budget estimate.

Governance Agents: design of S4Andalucía

The governance model will guarantee the actual and effective participation of the quadruple helix, facilitating the participation and contributions of all the interested regional actors involved with Andalusian R&D&i:

  • the group of agents from Andalusia’s innovation ecosystem: entities from the Andalusian Knowledge System, most representative economic and social agents, universities, public research associations, science and technology parks, research and technology centres, technology transfer entities and organisations…
  • citizens through the application of public information
  • involved Public Administrations

From the Autonomous Government of Andalusia, the Department of Economic Transformation, Industry, Knowledge and Universities presides over and drives the process of the preparation of the Strategy, with the assistance of the S4 Andalucía 2021-2027 Working Group and the support of the Technical Secretariat.