Seminar and Launch of Centre of Excellence on Smart Specialisation and Regional Policy

During the past decade, the circumstances of ‘regional’ Australia have become much more explicit in Australian public policy. While issues of drought or flood have often drawn attention to the exigencies of farmers and or rural economies, it has been recognition of widespread structural differences which has prompted the recent attention. Language such as the ‘patchwork economy’ has been used to describe the different patterns of activity in mining regions, vis a vis the much slower growth and even decline in non-metropolitan regions in the south-east of Australia. However, policy responses have been typically ad hoc and fragmented, offering limited support to regional communities grappling with the economic, social and environmental implications of global challenges.

By way of contrast, the European Union (EU) has developed its Regional Policy as a comprehensive program over the past 40 years. Increasingly, its approach has come to emphasise the importance of bringing all EU regions in the Single Market, and has encouraged the development of regional innovation systems.

What can Australia and other countries in the Asia Pacific region learn from the European experience? This is the central question to be addressed by a new Centre of Excellence on Smart Specialisation and Regional Policy, established by the EU Centre at RMIT with support from the EU’s Jean Monnet program.

To launch the Centre of Excellence, you are invited to come to a seminar on ‘Regional Policy, Regional Innovation: Implications of European Experience for Australia?’ led by a panel including Professor Lars Coenen, Ms Karen Cain, Associate Professor Lauren Rickards, and Professor Bruce Wilson.

The seminar will be held at 12.30-2.00pm on Monday 13 August 2018.


  • Professor Lars Coenen, Chair of Resilient Cities, University of Melbourne
  • Ms Karen Cain, Chief Executive Officer, Latrobe Valley Authority
  • Associate Professor Lauren Rickards, Convenor, RMIT Regional Futures Network
  • Professor Bruce Wilson, Director, European Union Centre at RMIT


RMIT University, Melbourne City Campus, Building 20, Level 2, Courtroom 3, 124 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000


13 August 2018