Title: 'Contemporary Concepts of Competitiveness and Growth: Smart Specialisation as the Next Cogent Concept in the European Union?'
Supervisor: Professor Dr. Rainer Kattel
Opponent: Piret Tõnurist, MA
Defense: 6 June 2013
Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to analyse and identify if the concept of smart specialisation is proficient enough to be regarded as the next step in the line of economic competitiveness and growth oriented theories established in the recent decades. During the last few years the concept has gradually been implemented in the context of the European Union and has become a pivotal element in the union’s policy initiatives for the upcoming financial period of 2014-2020. The first part of this thesis provides a detailed analytical presentation of the central elements of the theories of competitive advantage, clusters, regional innovation systems and growth diagnostics. A critical assessment of the theories as well as a comparative analysis of their mutual complementarities and deficiencies is also given. The second part of the thesis presents a detailed overview pertaining to the essence of the concept of smart specialisation an analysis if and how the concept manages to carry and build upon the assertions made by the preceding theories. It will also be shown how and with what effects the concept is being implemented in the context of the European Union.
Keywords: Smart Specialisation, Competitiveness, Growth, Competitive Advantage, Clusters, Regional Innovation Systems, Growth Diagnostics, European Union.