Elisabeth Baier, Guest Editor, Associate Editor, VICTORIA | International University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Simone Kimpeler, Guest Editor, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, Germany

Manuel González López, Guest Editor, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

María del Carmen Sánchez Carreira, Guest Editor, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

The development of regional “Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation” (RIS3) is central in the EU’s innovation policy agenda and perceived as a key for anticipatory local and regional governance. With RIS3, as a prerequisite (ex-ante conditionality) for accessing European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in general and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in particular during the programming period 2014-2020, regions are encouraged to formulate their regional development strategies. With the start of the new programming period, 2021-2027, RIS3 will become an enabling condition. Hence, regional strategy development processes have started again in many European regions and RIS3 are perceived as an interesting new research topic.

This call for paper is motivated by two observations: First, the focus of many research contributions is dedicated to the mobilizing and stimulating effects of the implementation of RIS3 and its effects on the broader economy as regards innovation, competitiveness, and growth. The analysis of the regional strategy development processes from a strategic management perspective has remained underexplored in this particular research field, so far. Second, regional strategy development is often not in the focus of strategy research scholars and the comprehensive and systematic inquiry of regional strategy development processes from that perspective is scarce. This special issue on Regional Strategizing intends to bring the two research fields closer together and generate new insights by this combinatorial view.

We invite researchers, practitioners and policy makers to submit papers, which explicitly address, explore or analyze the strategy development and management processes behind the development of regional (innovation) strategies. Doing so, we intend to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how regional strategy processes shaped and what actually takes place in future-oriented regional strategy formulation and implementation. The aim of this special issue is to generate insights about the strategic management approaches and practices in regional development processes.

We encourage to refer to different analytical frameworks which may enhance the understanding of regional strategy making, bearing in mind, that strategy development takes place at a certain time, in particular place, in a specific situation, with specific scope where economic, personal, social, cultural, organizational, geographical, institutional and historical factors count. We welcome original, previously not published contributions providing conceptual foundations and/or empirical evidence on the development of regional strategy content, strategy praxis (activities), practices (tools), the practitioners, which are involved in regional strategy development processes, as well as different forms of legitimacy.


Empirical, experience based but also conceptual papers should address at least one of the following questions:

  • Which practitioners are involved in the development of regional strategies? What forms and sources of legitimacy for regional strategy development can we observe among the practitioners?
  • Which strategic management practices, tools, and artifacts are frequently used in regional strategy development processes (e.g., SWOT analysis, trend analysis, scenario analysis, participatory future dialogues)?
  • How do they contribute to the process of defining strategic goals, priorities and regional development objectives (e.g., visioning, road mapping), regional governance and the present and future allocation of resources (e.g., indicators, monitoring)?
  • What types of strategizing can we observe? What activity dynamics result from them? What are the implications for regional development processes for innovation, competitiveness, and growth? 
  • What patterns of regional shaping strategies can we observe? Do they depend on regional context factors? Are there similarities and differences between regions?
  • Do the interactions, rules and routines of the strategy development process have an impact on institutions and lead to a prolonged change?
  • Which differences and commonalities can we observe in the strategy processes and practices and their implementation between firms and regional networks?

Submission guidelines:
Submission deadline: 30 September 2021
Papers reviewed: 31 October 2021
Revised papers reviewed: 30 November 2021
Final versions of accepted papers delivered: 31 December 2021
Papers published: at the beginning of 2022

Paper submission:
Papers should be submitted to JEMI before the end of 30 September 2021 at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the Guest Editor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.The papers will undergo a double-blind review. Submissions must be in English, should be 8000 words or more, and follow the submission requirements posted on the JEMI website at http://jemi.edu.pl/submission-and-policy