The policy change envisaged with the implementation of Norte’s Action Plan were focused in improving the management of the policy instrument (type 2 of INTERREG EUROPE programme manual), being the one here presented accomplished through the improvement of the governance model and monitoring of the policy instruments addressed by the project that are related to the hiring of highly qualified human resources, in the context of Norte Smart Specialisation Strategy (NORTE RIS3).

During phase 1 of the project, Norte focused the work in the development of the new methodological approach for the definition of NORTE RIS3 monitoring system, taking into account the process of sharing of experiences and good practices in the design and implementation of S3 monitoring systems between partners. The work resulted in the production of the document “Norte Region Smart Specialisation Strategy (NORTE RIS3). A Monitoring System Methodological Approach for MONITORIS3 Project”, that was considered a good practice by the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform and is published on the S3 platform website of the European Commission.

Through the first action of Norte’s Action Plan, this new methodology for monitoring the policy instruments was implemented and the main outputs were the production, for the first time, of two annual monitoring reports with recommendations related to the improvement of the policy instruments. Through Action 2, it was implemented a pilot action to test a new methodology to measure innovation attitudes in beneficiaries of the same policy instruments, through surveys within the framework of NORTE RIS3 monitoring. The main outputs were the development, for the first time, of an Innovation Attitudes Survey and an analysis report of the responses obtained, that took in consideration Norte’s regional innovation system diagnosis.

The improvement in the governance model was accomplished through the participation of the main stakeholders in the monitoring of the policy instrument envisaged by the project, adequately framed by NORTE RIS3 monitoring system. The regional stakeholders involved were representatives of public administration bodies responsible for R&D&I, higher education and polytechnic entities, NORTE RIS3 priority domains platforms, Interreg Europe projects in the area of monitoring and also NORTE 2020 Managing Authority. The reports produced in the two actions were presented to the Regional Stakeholders Group and to NORTE 2020 Managing Authority in virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 crisis (in 17th December 2020 and 30th June 2021) and then sent for written consultation in order to collect further contributions. The final versions incorporate the recommendations produced for the improvement of the policy instruments in the current and the next programming period of EU policies and were directed to NORTE 2020 Managing Authority, to NORTE RIS3 priority platforms and also to the Regional Innovation Council. All the documents produced were also published in the website of the project MONITORIS3.

The strong involvement of stakeholders within the implementation of NORTE RIS3 monitoring system was a new feature that provided a new perspective of the different R&D&I policy instruments that are linked to NORTE RIS3, for the current and the next programming period of European Union policies, in particular the hiring of highly qualified human resources, and ensured that the level of interregional learning does not only occur at the individual level of the institution participating in the project but also at the level of the relevant stakeholders in the region.

The pertinent lessons that inspired this policy change were learnt in MONITORIS3 activities occurred during the learning process developed in the Interregional Thematic Seminars of phase 1 of the project and in good practices then presented, namely “Regional Innovation Network” (from Veneto Region), “Entrepreneurial Discovery Process for RIS3 Evaluation” (from Galicia Region) and “Innovation Attitudes Survey” (from Nordland County Council), and in the reports then presented with a detailed description of S3 monitoring systems (ex. from the partner Nordland County Council), as well as the Concept Note “Smart Specialisation: an approach to a Monitoring and Evaluation System” (from the advisory partner - Portugal’s National Innovation Agency).

The MONITORIS3 project had therefore a crucial role in the improvement of the monitoring and governance model of the policy instrument envisaged within NORTE RIS3 monitoring system framework, with repercussions on CCDR-N institutional capacity-building in this field.