Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization (RIS3) is an economic transformation strategy aimed at achieving higher added value, productivity, and more efficient use of resources. The economic transformation strategy is closely linked to the current level of economic development and competitive advantages (both existing and potential).

The goal of RIS3 is to enhance innovation capacity and establish an innovation system that promotes and supports technological progress in the economy.

Latvia has defined its RIS3 industries with the aim of foresting the development in innovative products and services in these areas and further exporting them to other countries. The main RIS3 areas in Latvia are:

  1. Knowledge-intensive bioeconomy;
  2. Biomedicine, medical technologies and bio-pharmacy;
  3. Smart materials, technologies and engineering systems;
  4. Smart energy and mobility;
  5. Information and communication technologies.

The responsible authorities for implementing RIS3 are the Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Education and Science, including collaboration with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development and other sectoral ministries.

To enhance the alignment of innovation and research policies, including RIS3 oversight, the Innovation and Research Management Council (IPPP) was established on July 28, 2022. The council will include ministers from the Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Education and Science, as well as directors from Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) and Latvian Council of Science (LZP). This reform envisions the involvement of LIAA in coordinating innovation and RIS3 areas, creating and leading the work of five RIS3 management groups for this purpose. These groups will bring together representatives from businesses, academia, and the public sector to discuss challenges and barriers in research and innovation, identify collaborative opportunities, and discuss the vision for future large-scale, mutually beneficial projects in each RIS3 area. Key conclusions and vision are consolidated in the long-term strategy and action plan developed by each RIS3 area management group, which may be regularly updated and reviewed as needed.

RIS3 monitoring

The National Industrial Policy Guidelines for the period 2021-2027 (NIP2027) envisage the regular implementation of RIS3 monitoring.

The aim of RIS3 monitoring is to:

  • identify and/or update potential competitive advantages or technology development niches at the level of each RIS3 area;
  • identify obstacles and challenges to the development of these competitive advantages, while assessing and providing feedback on the effectiveness of support measures or environmental improvement measures implemented so far, and necessary changes;
  • evaluate the progress of economic transformation within a specific time period according to defined achievable goals and performance indicators.