The next six months are an important period for policy makers, the university sector and many other stakeholders engaged in Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3). With the ongoing preparations for the EU’s 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework, the European Workshop on Smart Specialisation (RIS3), entitled “Universities as Regional Lead Institutions”, took place on 13 November 2018. It provided an opportunity to take stock of past achievements and identify emerging priorities for building successful European innovation ecosystems in the post-2020 period.

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