Smart Specialisation Strategy of the Republic of North Macedonia 2024-2027

Fostering green and sustainable growth through embedding knowledge, innovation and technology, for creating high value-added products and services, competitive on international and domestic markets.

Published in November 2023

Foreseeing the need for transition towards new growth opportunities and social progress, addressing economic challenges and delivering a better quality of life for all, North Macedonia, in 2018, launched the process of development of the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3), as a comprehensive model for research and innovation enabling sustainable economic growth build on the capacities of the endogenous industry, science and society.

Smart Specialization Strategy is of high importance for the future growth of the Macedonian economy, enabling further development by strengthening the research and innovation potentials, facilitating knowledge-based transformation, enhancing competitiveness based on knowledge and academia-business collaboration, diversifying existing industries and service activities, boosting growth of new and fast-growing industries and enterprises as well as stimulate green and digital transition.

The “Smart Specialisation Strategy of the Republic of North Macedonia 2024-2027” (hereinafter referred to as S3-MK) is a result of a detailed analytical and wide consultative process in the quadruple helix, that sought, in a bottom-up and open manner, to contribute to defining a strategic vision, priorities and respective transformative activities that accelerate the transition towards innovative and knowledge-based economy and society.

The rationale behind the S3-MK is to concentrate national resources and economic investments around a set of priority domains with a critical mass of knowledge, capacities, competencies and innovation potential to strengthen North Macedonia in global markets/value chains.

The S3 vision for North Macedonia emphasizes the connection of knowledge and innovation, with a special focus on combining technology to create greater added value, more qualified job opportunities, and more innovative/technology-based companies that stimulate green and sustainable growth. Thus, the vision is summed up in:

Fostering green and sustainable growth through embedding knowledge, innovation and technology for creating high value-added products and services competitive on international and domestic markets.

The Smart Specialization Strategy is unleashing smart growth by defining high- priority domains in which there is the highest economic, innovative and R&D capacity for creating new added value.

There are four vertical and two horizontal priority domains:

· Smart Agriculture and Food with Higher Added Value

· Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

· Electro-Mechanical Industry – Industry 4.0

· Sustainable Materials and Smart Buildings

Energy for future and Tourism, as horizontal domains, have interrelatedness and cross-innovation with vertical ones.

In parallel, for achieving the overall S3-MK vision, visions of the vertical priority domains and their defined objectives, a proposed policy mix measures and activities are defined and grouped around strategic objectives focused on scientific excellence, innovation ecosystem, competitiveness and greening of businesses, human capital and digital transformation as well as crosscutting objective ensuring proper implementation and continuous Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) dialogue.

The governance model is based on introducing a multi-level governance system combining top-down policy coordination with bottom-up quadruple/quintuple helix participation.

The monitoring and evaluation system is structured to allow monitoring S3-MK implementation as well as mid-term evaluation (implementation evaluation) and a comprehensive, final evaluation (impact evaluation). Both evaluations are hence already included in the Policy mix with main milestones regarding the timeline.

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