The Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) is a key tool for identifying the priority areas of the National RIS3 Strategy. It is a functional bottom-up process based on an open, transparent and structured discussion of the various actors in the innovation system. Due to the dynamic development of the innovation environment, where new challenges and opportunities for research and innovation are constantly emerging, it is necessary to perceive the EDP as a crucial element of the National RIS3 Strategy in the whole cycle of its creation and implementation. This process must take place throughout the implementation of the strategy, as it provides the feedback and the verification for the implemented interventions as well as the basis for the plan of interventions being prepared.
The business, research and public spheres are involved in the EDP process through a system of innovation platforms, which consists mainly of the National Innovation Platforms (NIPs) and the Regional Innovation Platforms. In the context of a specific approach to the creation and implementation of the RIS3 in the Czech Republic, which is divided into the national dimension of the RIS3 and the regional dimension of the RIS3, the EDP needs to be perceived as a single process fulfilled by mechanisms at the national and regional levels.
The pivotal purposes of the EDP include the following:
- Identifying desirable directions for the development and transformation of sectors that fall within the research and innovation specialisation domains.
- Refining the research and innovation specialisation domains – refining the R&D&I priority topics and smart specialisation areas. Based on an assessment and substantiation of existing R&D&I capacities, new identified opportunities and the capacities for using these opportunities, the NIPs define and refine the focus of R&D&I topics that should be supported within the implementation of the RIS3. R&D&I topics that fulfil the objectives of the National RIS3 Strategy must have a significant potential to transform one or more sectors of the Czech Republic’ economic specialisation (application sectors) and, in turn, fulfil the requirement of smart specialisation.
- Providing input for interventions in the horizontal priorities of the National RIS3 Strategy. The EDP process also generates proposals and recommendations concerning specific measures and interventions through which the horizontal objectives of the National RIS3 (e.g. in the area of skills) are accomplished. In this context, the EDP platforms comment e.g. on the focus of R&D&I support programmes (operational programmes and national programmes) through which the objectives of the National RIS3 Strategy are accomplished. At the same time, the EDP may develop its own proposals for interventions contributing to the objectives of the National RIS3 Strategy.
- Identifying emerging opportunities and fields – proposals for new specialisation topics and ways to support them. Gathering input in order to anticipate industrial and technological trends, their national impacts and desired responses.
- Proposing and discussing missions and their subordinate R&D&I topics. These missions will be linked to major societal challenges (see Chapter 4.3.2). Detailing them and identifying R&D&I topics to address them will be an important part of the EDP process and the implementation of the National RIS3 Strategy, which will thus incorporate – as part of the EDP process – the “public discovery process” that leads to public sector-driven innovations.
- Building a circle of people who are actively involved in developing the innovation system, creating new and strengthening existing partnerships and strengthening trust between the different actors of the innovation system.
- Building on the previous items, effectively targeting public and private resources intended for research and innovation.
- The EDP process will also contribute to coordinating the activities of large research infrastructures so as to use the potential of large research infrastructures for implementing RIS3 and developing the Czech Republic’s innovative economy and society.
The main instrument of the EDP is the system of EDP Innovation Platforms, which consists mainly of National Innovation Platforms (NIPs) and Regional Innovation Platforms. In the context of the specific approach to developing and implementing RIS3 in the Czech Republic, where it is divided into the national RIS3 dimension and the regional RIS3 dimension, the EDP needs to be seen as a single process that is implemented by mechanisms at the national and regional levels. Suggestions from the regional EDP level are mainly translated to the national level through the National Innovation Platforms, where the suggestions from the regional EDP are discussed. The transfer of suggestions that are relevant to the implementation of the National RIS3 Strategy from the regional levels to the national level is mainly done by regional RIS3 managers, whose representatives are always part of the different NIPs.