Sustainable development of agriculture based on the smart specialisation approach: cases of the Central and Eastern European countries
Purpose. The purpose of the study is to analyse and systematise the smart priorities of the territories of Central and Eastern Europe with a focus on the sustainable development of the agricultural sector and to identify current trends in the innovative development of agriculture.
Methodology / approach. The main research method is benchmarking which includes identification, comparative analysis, generalisation and application of best practices in various fields of activity. The authors’ methodology of regional benchmarking has been tried out in the work. The methodology provides implementation of a set of scientific and analytical measures at the following stages: (1) mapping and identification of smart priorities in focal economic activities; (2) analysis of regional priorities according to the European goals of smart specialisation policy including the structure of their selection; (3) studying the content and goals of the regional priorities establishing cross-sectoral links; (4) examination of the exploit of established and emerging clusters in the regional smart specialisation with identification of their localisation and selected priority areas; (5) analysis of interregional cooperation in smart specialisation domains; (6) processing and formalisation of the obtained research results.
Results. We identified and analysed 44 priorities involving the agricultural sector, which belongs to 12 Central and Eastern European countries. The dominant policy objectives of smart specialisation of these territories are Sustainable Innovation, Public Health & Security and Key Enabling Technologies, which are mainly focused on achieving sustainable agriculture, establishing bioeconomy and providing food security & safety. These smart specialisation domains at the national and sub-national levels clearly contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. Priorities were grouped according to their internal goals and content, which allowed identifying key trends of innovative development of the territories with the involvement of the agricultural sector. It is concluded that the regions combine knowledge and assets through the intensification of cross-sectoral, interregional cooperation and the use of clusters. We determined that cross-sectoral links within smart priorities are mostly formed within existing value chains, but recently, new cross-sectoral and interregional partnerships emerge and actively develop. They are mainly focused on the diffusion of innovative bio- and digital technologies in agro-food systems. We highlighted the key issues that need to be addressed by regional working groups while selecting the smart priorities of the Ukraine’s regions.
Originality / scientific novelty. This paper presents the results of the thematic research in a new understudied direction – Smart Specialisation Strategies for Sustainability. Based on the authors’ methodology of regional benchmarking, the smart priorities in the agricultural sector of Central and Eastern European countries have been analysed.
Practical value / implications. The results of the study can be used by regional working groups of the Entrepreneurial discovery process to draw up possible ways of agricultural development. The obtained results may also be of interest to researchers from different countries involved in the implementation of smart specialisation approach and the improvement of its methodology.
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