GSRI has proceeded in further specifying the thematic areas identified as priority areas, through the entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP), which consists of seeking new business opportunities to exploit knowledge and integrate it in value chains. Entrepreneurial discovery is a participatory, active process of identifying and prioritising key activities that link research and innovation to economic growth and social well-being, taking into account the particularities and potential of the country and each one of its regions. It is achieved through structured consultation with all actors involved in the innovation ecosystem at national and regional level, with enterprises and the productive classes playing a leading role in highlighting technological priorities.

Innovation platforms form the core of the consultation process, bringing together representatives from industry or sector enterprises, research centres, universities, technology bodies, financial institutions as well as relevant ministries and regional authorities. GSRT set up and operates 8 Innovation Platforms, one for each National Smart Specialisation Strategy priority area.

During the first period of the entrepreneurial discovery process (2013-15), consultation results from the platforms were used as the basis for focusing more closely in, and for, essentially, specifying, activities which are identified as priorities in the present version of the Strategy. In addition to deepening insight into each sector, there was an attempt to establish synergies between sectors, in order to achieve a greater added value from interventions. Moreover, a set of emerging sectors with considerable potential and prospects for developing innovation and new opportunities was identified.

However, the entrepreneurial discovery is a dynamic and evolutionary process, to be used throughout the 2014-20 programming period. To that end, an appropriate mechanism was put in place in order to use EDP in a more regular, better organized and more efficient way, also through broader mobilization.

For this reason, in the second period of the entrepreneurial discovery process, initiated at the end of 2015, a small Advisory Group was designated for each innovation platform, its expert members coming from both the industry and the research community. They include representatives of dynamic enterprises of each respective sector, researchers with an important activity record, national representatives in the Horizon 2020 Committees and, more generally, persons with a particular interest in and contribution to the platforms’ operation.

Coordinator was designated for each platform; he/she is employed either by GSRI or a supervised research centre, and a holder of a post-graduate or/and doctorate degree in a relevant field. The Coordinator is tasked with the co-ordination, organization and operation of the platform, in collaboration with the respective Advisory Group and the competent GSRI Programming Directorate/Department.