In the sixth semester of IMPROVE project, main activities of the project have included study visit meetings and finalization of action plans. Study visit events have been organized by five partners (Centre-Val de Loire, Extremadura, Puglia, City of Tartu and Lapland) and brought together project partners and regional stakeholders for in-depth analysis of good practices. During the events, good practices of the regions were presented, and experiences exchanged between partners. This exchange of experiences has also supported the participating regions to finalize their action plans. The themes of the events dealt with issues such as monitoring and evaluation tools of S3, governance and regional ecosystem as well as smart city initiatives and cluster development.

Centre-Val de Loire study visit`s objective was to introduce the regional ecosystem and share the methods for implementing the regional innovation strategy for smart specialisation and tools developed to support the innovation of regional companies such as entrepreneurial discovery process. City of Tartu event addressed different issues, such as the governance of policy and financial instruments and information about RIS3 and Smart City initiatives. Afterward, there were presentations of successful examples of start-up ecosystems and programs.

Lapland`s study visit included presentations about Arctic Smartness concept and working group practice between intermediary bodies. Based on presentations, discussion arose from themes such as management and resources of clusters as well as participation of companies within the cluster work.

Puglia`s study visit addressed issues such as the main management elements of some measures of the Apulia Region supporting R&D&i, to focus on the monitoring and evaluation activities of the regional Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) and to measure the impact of these policies for improving their effectiveness. Extremadura`s event presented Innovation and Talent Programme (PIT) launched by the Regional Government of Extremadura, an initiative that alternates the training of technologists and technologists with professional practice in private companies in order to facilitate the employability of unemployed young people and enhance the capabilities of talent in the region in a number of strategic areas. Also, the RIS3 Extremadura 2027 and the Office for Innovation were presented as good practices in the implementation of R&D support policies.

In June, the last Interregional Thematic Workshop was held in Gabrovo. The workshop focused on introducing each partner’s action plan and the lessons learned from other regions. A fruitful joint discussion was held and the follow-up mechanisms of the Action Plans were set for Phase 2.