The policy set by the European Commission for Programming Period 2014–2020 introduced new instruments supporting regional development but also posed new requirements that must be met by European regions. One of them is smart specialization. To implement Strategy for Europe 2020, published by the European Commission in 2010, EU Member States and their regions develop strategies for smart specialization that show directions for providing support to the strengthening of research, development and innovation. Smart specialization is an important instrument for strengthening of competitiveness as well as for defining and building the knowledge-based economy. This article presents analysis of processes responsible for identifying smart specialization in Pomeranian and West Pomeranian Regions (in Polish: Voivodeships). This analysis is a continuation and extension of the research on the process of emergence of smart specialization in Pomeranian Region by the inclusion of the West Pomeranian Region into this study. Both Regions are situated on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea and are seats of main Polish harbours and shipyards. Their regional capitals Gdańsk and Szczecin are the cores of emerging metropolitan areas. The aims of the article are: (1) assessment of methods of smart specialization emergence and selection; (2) analysis of differences and similarities of areas of smart specialization of two coastal regions. In Pomeranian region the process of emergence of smart specialization was a bottom-up one where the Regional Government organized the competition and invited actors to build partnerships. In other regions of Poland it was more of a top-down process, but with participation of stakeholders. The West Pomeranian Region is an example of this approach. Methods of the research applied for this study include: analysis of literature, documents from Voivodeship Marshal Offices, individual interviews, participation in the process of emerging of smart specialization in Pomeranian Voivodeship and comparative analysis of the methods of their emergence in both regions.
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