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RIO Country Report Portugal 2017

The R&I Observatory country report 2017 provides a brief analysis of the R&I system covering the economic context, main actors, funding trends & human resources, policies to address R&I challenges, and R&I in national and regional smart specialisation strategies. Data is from Eurostat, unless otherwise referenced and is correct as at January 2018. Data used from other international sources is also correct to that date. The report provides a state-of-play and analysis of the national level R&I system and its challenges, to support the European Semester.



Challenges for R&I policy-making in Portugal

The main innovation challenges in Portugal are:

  1. Improving firms’ innovation performance by strengthening their technological and managerial capabilities: despite positive developments, innovation performance remains relatively weak. There are signs of insufficient in-house capabilities within firms.
  2. Stimulating the emergence of new companies in knowledge-intensive activities: even though in 2016 medium and high-tech exports reversed the previous downward trend, growth in knowledge-intensive service exports is still tepid. Efforts to stimulate entrepreneurship led to positive results, but difficulties in attracting knowledge-intensive FDI persist.
  3. Ensuring stronger linkages between science and industry: tackling this challenge requires sustained action from both ends. The challenge here is not just ‘technology transfer’, but rather the development of co-design and co-action initiatives involving players from both sides.
  4. Defining jointly developed agendas on innovation policy: this challenge is closely related to the previous one. Measures taken to involve the business sector in R&I policy design risk remaining limited. Further efforts to stimulate real ‘bottom-up’ initiatives for the definition of R&I agendas are still needed.
  5. Fostering the recruitment of researchers by business firms: Portugal has one of the lowest shares of researchers employed by businesses in the EU. Promoting employment of high-skilled workers, especially PhD holders, would enable human capital to be put to productive use. This would in turn contribute to address some of the previous challenges.

Smart Specialisation Strategies

Information on progress in the implementation of RIS3 remains limited. However, all regions have already published their priorities and seem to be well placed to fully implement the process.

One of the main issues is the limited level of implementation of the entrepreneurial discovery process. ANI is expected to relaunch this process soon. ANI also intends to develop initiatives towards the revision of national and regional RIS3 strategies. Another line of action for the near future concerns exploratory work on complementarities between national and regional smart specialisation strategies.

Information on applications is already available for the Alentejo and Centro regions. For both regions, the extent to which applications were aligned with the RIS3 criterion has played an important role in project selection.

New policy developments

At the national level, the draft report on the assessment of the implementation of RIS3 was presented to the meeting of the Council of the Coordinating Board of the National Strategy for Smart Specialisation in October 2017. It was decided to revise the report to include information from OPs other than Compete 2020. The revised report is expected to be available still in 2017. At the regional level, the Centro Region Coordination Commission (CCDR Centro) decided in November 2016 to launch a public consultation on RIS3.

Geo coverage
Report year
Official publication date
Friday, 23 March, 2018
National expert name
Vitor Corado Simoes; Manuel Mira Godinho
Last update: 18/07/2019 | Top | Legal notice | Contact | Search