University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 7258-7268
ISBN: 978-84-09-24232-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2020.1553
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
The literature highlights the fundamental role that the educational offer plays in the pursuit of smart specialisation strategies (S3) [1]. At this level, particular emphasis is given to higher education institutions, perceived as the main generators of knowledge and, therefore, fundamental for the leverage of S3 [2]. However, vocational education and training (VET) also has a direct and dynamic role in innovation, since it synthesizes knowledge in all technological areas and contributes to the renewal of skills in traditional sectors [3]. In fact, S3 is essentially a way of thinking about local knowledge and learning enhancement systems [4] and focuses on the principle that knowledge, research and innovation resources, linked to a limited number of priority economic activities, enable economic development [1]. Considering that VET can play a critical role in this innovation through the absorption of know-how, the involvement of these two concepts becomes a critical factor in the regional economic transformation [5]. As a result, the creation of professional courses can contribute to address the specific needs of qualified human resources in the regions in order to meet the demand of businesses and increase national competitiveness. Nonetheless, research on the relationship between VET and S3 are still scarce, and it is essential to analyze how the training offer of each region is aligned with the defined objectives, since S3 identify real and potential development priorities applied in the regional context [6]. Based on this gap identified in the literature, this paper aims to analyze the creation and funding of secondary and higher professional courses in Portugal, seeking to understand whether the educational offer provides adequate response to the challenges set by the national and regional strategies for smart specialization. The research aims to verify not only the alignment between scientific domains and smart strategies, but also, and above all, to check whether they contribute to the accomplishment of the thematic axes and priority areas. Secondary data analysis was used, highlighting the challenges, the added value and the potential development of the Portuguese regions when compared to the training offer. The conclusions provide insights on the need to further elaborate on the funding and approval mechanisms for professional courses to ensure the necessary articulation with the smart specialisation strategies defined in national and regional plans.

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[2] MARINELLI, Elisabetta, et al. Higher Education for Smart Specialisation: The case of North East Romania. Joint Research Centre (Seville site), 2017.
[3] HAZELKORN, Ellen, et al. Skills and Smart Specialisation: The role of Vocational Education and Training in Smart Specialisation Strategies. Joint Research Centre (Seville site), 2019.
[4] McCann & Ortega-Argilés, Smart Specialization, Regional Growth and Applications to European Union Cohesion Policy, 2015.
[5] SALTER, Ammon J.; MARTIN, Ben R. The economic benefits of publicly funded basic research: a critical review. Research Policy, 2001, 30.3: 509-532.
[6] CAPELLO, Roberta; KROLL, Henning. From theory to practice in smart specialization strategy: emerging limits and possible future trajectories. European Planning Studies, 2016, 24.8: 1393-1406.
Smart Specialization, VET, S3, Portugal, National Strategy, Regional Strategy.