Smart specialisation

Smart specialisation is one of the cornerstones of innovation policy across the European Union.

Implementation of the smart specialisation approach requires aligning priorities for economic, research and development (R&D) and education policies. The aim is to support knowledge-based economic development by focusing on specific areas of specialisation.

Smart specialisation is the common thread running through the Estonian Entrepreneurship Growth Strategy 2014-2020 and the Estonian Research and Development and Innovation Strategy 2014-2020 “Knowledge-based Estonia”.

Foto: Aron Urb/Toolbox EstoniaPhoto: Aron Urb/Toolbox Estonia


Growth areas

The selection process of Estonian growth areas was lead by the Estonian Development Fund (Eesti Arengufond).

Growth areas were chosen based on the current specialisation of the Estonian economy and research as well as global trends. In addition, particular emphasis was placed on gathering input from Estonian entrepreneurs and scientists about which areas of business had a higher likelihood of translating R&D and innovation investments into international competitive advantage.

Smart specialisation growth areas:

  1. Information and communication technology (ICT) horizontally through other sectors
  2. Health technologies and services
  3. Enhancement of resources

Photo: Renee Altrov/Toolbox Estonia


Analysis and overviews


Smart specialisation support measures


Photo: Erik Riikoja/Toolbox Estonia


Steering committee

The governing body for smart specialisation in Estonia is the Smart Specialisation Steering Committee, representing the interests of business, universities and the public sector by the following:

  • Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications - Viljar Lubi
  • Ministry of Education and Research - Indrek Reimand
  • Ministry of Finance - Jaanus Karv
  • Government Office - Anne Jürgenson
  • Universities Estonia - Maarja Kruusmaa
  • Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Mait Palts
  • Estonian Service Industry Association - Riin Ehin
The Steering Committee has been called together by the directive of the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology.
The directive lays out the objectives and working arrangements of the committee.


Mikk Vahtrus

Counsellor of the Economic Development Department

 Phone: +372 625 6389
mikk.vahtrus [at]


Last updated: 20 October 2020