Benchmarking Validation Workshop was held on 11th of November 2021, as one of the events of this year’s Mediterranean Coast and Macro-regions Week, with an aim to present the benchmarking tool that is created as a part of the BLUEAIR project, and to exchange views on the results of our benchmarking of innovation policies in the EU sea basins.

The BLUEAIR project (Blue growth smart Adriatic Ionian S3), co-funded by the Interreg Adrion programme, aims to strengthen the institutional capacities of the Adriatic-Ionian territories in defining a common S3 policy for the blue economy and to ensure the alignment of local initiatives with the EUSAIR strategy through a coordinated approach.

One of the approaches we use to achieve the project objectives is the benchmarking of innovation policies in EU sea basins. We benchmarked six EU sea basins (Adriatic-Ionian, Atlantic, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, North Sea and West Mediterranean) according to their innovation governance structure, policy instruments, policy processes and institutional capacities for innovation policy implementation. For this purpose, we adapted the Innovation Policy Index (IPI) introduced by Professor Slavo Radosevic.

At the workshop, the professor stated that IPI is an attempt to structure and thus reduce the complexity of innovation policy benchmarking by going beyond the individual, customized, but fundamentally not comparable country assessments. The ultimate aim is to serve as a discussion point and to try to achieve a consensus on the current state of innovation policy. Numbers cannot reduce the complexity of assessment, but they can draw attention to the weakest or most influential policy dimensions. IPI aims to be the tool to review innovation policy developments on significant policy pillars in and across countries, and a framework to exchange experiences and good practices, and foster policy dialogue. Limitations of our application of his Index professor sees in that IPI is not envisaged for regional, but national economies, that IPI is not designed for comparison of regions of widely different levels of development and that index is a tool for generating qualitative insights.

Representatives of the University of Belgrade presented the BLUEAIR Benchmarking tool and stated that the basis for benchmarking tool is set according to the BLUEAIR benchmarking model in terms of benchmarking subject, benchmarking partners, benchmarking metrics, and other operational issues. In parallel, the Self-Assessment Module (Collecting data-Survey; consolidation and validation of self-assessment results) and Benchmarking Analysis Module (setting the operational basis and feeding the Benchmarking tool with self-assessment results), were developed. Benchmarking tool – the main layout- includes several components depending on the level of benchmarking analysis.

Technology Park Ljubljana representatives presented the results of the research and said that there are profound differences between these sea basins stemming from their history, geography, political issues etc., which makes any comparison very challenging. They presented Self-assessment survey results through BlueAir BM Tool, Sea basin Blue Growth innovation performance, as well as Blue Economy in European basins. Additionally the gap analysis was presented with defined steps for the future.
After piloting the tool in support of the benchmarking of Blue Growth Innovation policies in six EU sea basins the BluAir benchmarking tool can be further used to support policymakers in EU sea basins and macro-regions in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of innovation policies.

All comments and suggestions from the high-level panellists from the studied regions will now be analyzed and integrated into the final version which will be available on the project’s website. The tool can be found on the official webpage of the BluAir project (section Activities).

BLUEAIR benchmarking tool

We are inviting persons involved in innovation policymaking at a level of a sea basin or macro-region to complete the self-assessment questionnaire that is provided on our website.

You can find presentations from the event HERE.