The challenge of achieving economic and social growth on the regional level occupies policymakers around the world: what are the most effective and efficient ways to actualize regional growth and what is the optimal policy mix required to achieve economic and social prosperity? A well-defined and applicable methodology is necessary for thinking about these questions and responding to them.
The European Union, for example, invests considerable energy on the study of regional development, with one of the major new outcomes being the concept of "Smart Specialization." The Smart Specialization approach allows each region to specialize according to its own strengths in terms of natural and financial assets, infrastructures, competitive advantages, science base, business activity and specialized human resources.
Regional development of the Galilee is an essential part of Israel’s policy agenda. We maintain that the broad framework of Smart Specialization would be very useful in identifying potential industrial sectors for specialization in the Galilee region and supporting the specialization processes in practice. However, the life-science sector has already been selected and prioritized. One prominent step in this direction was taken in October 2011 with the establishment of Bar-Ilan University's medical school in the northern town of Safed, providing an unprecedented opportunity for developing the region on the basis of specialization in biotechnology. Still, additional complementary policy actions are needed in order to realize the potential positive impacts of the school on the science-based and lifesciences industries in the Galilee and to leverage the success of this significant effort. For cases in which a sector has already been identified and prioritized, the TARGET project (FP7) was designed recently by JIIS and other international partners. The methodological approach developed in TARGET can serve as the basis for designing and implementing successful regional policy in the Galilee.
The innovative character of the TARGET
approach is that it facilitates a thorough understanding of the dynamics of innovation systems, their complex nature and the interrelations between the academic processes, industrial developments, financial schemes, public institutions and regulations. Moreover, TARGET's policy-oriented approach identifies crucial policy dimensions, such as coordination mechanisms, ongoing assessments and knowledge management, for an effective targeted policy. The TARGET toolkit can, therefore, assist policymakers in defining goals and facilitate the design of efficient, productive and synergetic policy measures for achieving them. This paper is a proposal for the implementation of the TARGET toolkit to the regional development of the Galilee.