The Regional Innovation Strategy of Karlovy Vary Region (RIS3 strategy) is a strategic document which supports R&D&I activities within the region. The main goal of the RIS3 strategy is to increase competitiveness of the region in the areas with competitive advantage.
The RIS3 strategy is created in three steps – data collection and data analysis, setting up priorities and proposing measures and particular activities.
Based on the data analysis, five main regional domains of specialization have been defined:
- Engineering, electrotechnics and mechatronics;
- Automotive industry and autonomous transport;
- Traditional industries (glass, ceramics and porcelain);
- Power industry and use of renewable energy systems;
- Spa, balneology and tourism.
The data analysis also led to defining six long-lasting weaknesses in the regional innovation environment – absence of innovation leaders in the region; low attractivity of the region for foreign investors as well as for young, talented and educated people; insufficient investment of local businesses into innovation, know-how and high quality human resources; low position of local businesses in global value chains; low motivation of both private and public sectors towards innovation activities; lack of experienced university graduates and skilled high school graduates.
To lower the impact of these problems, changes should be made in four key areas defined as 4P: Private sector, Public sector, People and Promotion. Each of these key areas have one strategic goal and several specific goals:
A: Private sector
- Strategic goal A.1: To support business, development of R&D&I activities and introduction of new productive innovations
- Specific goal A.1.1: To support the start up of new businesses
- Specific goal A.1.2: To stabilize and develop innovative businesses
- Specific goal A.1.3: To support digital transformation of SMEs
B: Public sector
- Strategic goal B.1: To support introduction of smart solutions in the region
- Specific goal B.1.1: To increase public interest in smart solutions
- Specific goal B.1.2: To launch smart solutions in towns and cities
- Specific goal B.1.3: To create conditions for smart authorities
- Strategic goal C.1: To ensure the innovation system in terms of staff and knowledge and invest in human resources
- Specific goal C.1.1: To create and develop quality staff capacities and invest in human resources
- Specific goal C.1.2: To motivate pupils and students to specialize in technical and scientific fields and to develop creativity
- Specific goal C.1.3: To support work with talented children
- Strategic goal D.1: To create and build a new image of the region
- Specific goal D.1.1: To create conditions for implementation of communication activities
- Specific goal D.1.2: To create and build a region’s brand
- Specific goal D.1.3: To build a network of ambassadors
- Specific goal D.1.4: To increase awareness and attractiveness of the region among target groups
Preparation and implementation of the RIS3 strategy was assigned to the Business Development Agency of Karlovy Vary Region (KARP) which is the executive body. The agency carries out all activities in close cooperation with the Regional Council, especially the Department of Regional Development. KARP is also the coordinator of the RIS3 strategy in the region – this position is executed by the RIS3 manager and her team.
The task of monitoring the strategy implementation was assigned to the Council for Research, Development and Innovation of Karlovy Vary Region (RVVI). RVVI also approves action plans of the RIS3 strategy and strategic projects, evaluates projects, and activities and programmes in the R&D&I area.
Innovation platforms are consultation and advisory groups of professionals representing the regional specialization domains mentioned above. The members of these platforms propose the RIS3 strategy interventions, provide feedback about project implementation and propose steps for enhancing the regional innovation system. Currently, there are 3 innovation platforms:
- Spa and balneology innovation platform
- Innovation Platform for traditional industries
- Innovation Platform for strategic opportunities
There is also an Innovation platform for cultural and creative industries which assists with implementing the RIS3 strategy. His platform was founded only after the updated version of the RIS3 strategy came out that is why it is not specifically mentioned in the implementation structure.
Smart Accelerator Project
The beneficiary of the Smart Accelerator Project is the Region of Karlovy Vary. KARP is a partner and also the main implementor of the project. Smart Accelerator is currently the only instrument for development of the innovation environment in Karlovy Vary region. It is also the only source of funding for implementation of the RIS3 strategy. The project helps to develop and maintain cooperation of the public sector with businesses operating in the region and with universities and R&D&I institutions based in other regions and also to enhance cooperation of educational entities and businesses within the region.
The following key activities are being implemented within the project:
- Core team – this key activity enables RVVI and innovation platforms mentioned above to be involved in the implementation of the RIS3 strategy. It also secures capacities for the Spa and Balneology Institute (the only public research institution of Karlovy Vary region).
- Education – this key activity is focused on developing competencies of the RIS3 implementors, Regional Council staff and other important stakeholders of the regional innovation system.
- Research and analyses – this key activity enables monitoring of the innovation environment, proposing new measures and evaluating success rates of existing implemented measures of the RIS3 strategy.
- Regional marketing and communication strategy – this activity aims at strengthening the communication and marketing of the regional innovation system through setting up a local management model for these activities, defining a clear vision, creating and updating a marketing strategy and implementing of the regional marketing plan.
Piloting – helps to confirm viability of instruments supporting the development of the regional innovation system. Two pilot projects are being implemented within Smart Accelerator 2.0:
- Support of talented children in Karlovy Vary Region – this pilot project aims at developing talent, personal growth and self-realization through a modern game. It also aims at parents of talented children, helps them work with their child’s emotional intelligence and enables them to share experience with other parents of talented children.
- Creative learning – this pilot project develops students’ creative skills which they can then utilize in entrepreneurial activities.
- Assistance – this key activity supports preparation of strategic projects which develop the innovation system both in public and private sectors through so called “Assistance vouchers”.