Asturias RIS3 has selected 16 high-priority topics grouped into 6 Fields of specialization. Two of the Fields focus on economic activity and their markets (the Steel Hub and the Health Hub). The other four Fields of specialization are organized around interrelationships governed by technology. These high-priority scientific and technological topics, in turn, may be determined either by the vitality of the field of knowledge or may respond to demand from economic activity to improve its competitiveness.
During the 2014-2020 period, the European Commission’s cohesion policy sets out as ex-ante condition for supporting investments in research and innovation the existence of a regional strategy for smart specialization. On 2 April 2014, Asturias RIS3 was approved by the Government Council, and afterward was communicated to the European Commission. On 14 July 2015, after a negotiation process, the European Commission approved the Operative Program 2014-2020 ERDF Asturias.
Asturias RIS3 not only considers the topics around which to concentrate innovation policies but it also establishes an action plan and a tracking and assessment mechanism. The actions and results expected, as well as the associated priorities, are organized around three goals:
The calls for applications for subsidies to businesses have gradually adapted to bring them into line with Asturias RIS3. Moreover, new tools, such as the Proof of Concept Premiums, have been designed to recognize the scientific work carried out by the researchers, while at the same time facilitating verification of its innovative potential. This has all been achieved using the method of public-private collaboration with attractor companies. In other respects, the plan is to promote working groups that build consensus on Regional Agendas for research and innovation; the first of these agendas, the Agenda for sustainable materials has already been launched.