The Republic of Moldova will have a smart specialization strategy, developed with EU support
The development of the Smart Specialization Strategy – the policy document that involves an approach based on resources available within a country, taking into account its socio-economic challenges, used to identify unique opportunities for development and growth – has been recently completed. In other words, smart specialization means targeting the resources available for research and innovation exactly in the areas where they can be fully capitalized – to the sectors that have increased competitiveness and attractiveness in a country, which will later contribute to its economic growth.The strategy was developed with the support of the EU funded project "European Union High Level Advisers’ Mission" within a broad participatory exercise under the guidance of the Ministry of Education and Research, involving representatives of the Ministries of Economy, Health, Agriculture and Food Industry; Regional Development Agencies, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, entrepreneurs and business associations, academia, representatives of the associative sector. The concept of the Strategy is to be finalized within an inter-institutional working group and consulted with the public. According to the authors of the Strategy, concentrating resources on a limited number of areas of excellence / specialization and priority investments is driven by the idea that a country cannot achieve notable performance in all areas of science, technology and innovation; a thorough prioritization process being necessary, that would take into account the needs and resources of that given state. Smart specialization has also been proposed to prevent the dissemination of limited R&I investments in a wide range of sectors, which therefore does not allow for a substantial impact of that investment. Thus, in the case of the Republic of Moldova, four priority areas were identified: Agriculture and food processing; Information and Communication Technology; Energy; Biomedicine and biopharmaceuticals. At EU level, smart specialization is a prerequisite for obtaining European Structural Funds for research, innovation and technology transfer; and, although the existence of a Smart Specialization Strategy is not a conditionality for countries outside the Union, its presence will facilitate the attraction of funds, beyond the state budget, for the identified priority sectors. It will also increase the country's competitive advantage, aiming that by 2030, the Republic of Moldova will become a state with a knowledge-based economy, competitive, sustainable and integrated into international value chains, with a resilient, digitalized and prone to innovation society. The implementation of the Smart Specialization Strategy is included in the Government Action Plan; its adoption is to take place by March 2022.