Project & Objectives

RIS4Danu proposes a series of concerted actions over 24 months to elaborate strategic business development plans for the re-opening of 21 disused industrial sites in the Danube Macro-Region, an area that stretches from the Black Forest to the Black Sea.

The project directly connects to the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), a macro-regional strategy to address common economic and societal challenges and create synergies and coordination between existing policies and initiatives.

Danube neighbouring states share a proud and centuries-old history of manufacturing and industrial production, yet political upheavals, globalisation and technological advancements have confronted many Danube regions with the challenges of structural transformation and have triggered the closing down of numerous industrial plants and sites. In many regions, plant closures and the associated displacement of workers caused severe socio-economic effects on workers, local communities and regions.

At the heart of the RIS4Danu project is the goal of applying an evidence-based Smart Specialisation (S3) approach to support placebased innovation for green/digital and inclusive transitions in regions along the Danube River. This project ties in with current debates and requests to combine smart specialisation with considerations of socio-ecological challenges such as climate change, environmental issues and growing social and territorial inequality: Smart Specialisation Strategies for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth.

We argue that the re-opening of old industrial sites shows the potential to build transformative resilience in less-favoured Danube regions. These sites could serve as innovation anchors, unleashing opportunities for the entire region to strengthen their capacity to develop innovative solutions to place-specific ecological, social and economic challenges. Project activities include cross-regional peer exchange and a transfer of knowledge along the Danube River.


  • Further developing the existing Smart Specialisation (S3) methodology towards Sustainable Smart Specialisation to facilitate “green structural change”. Consortium partners will contribute to the emerging academic and policy debates on linking smart specialisation with mission-oriented policy for sustainable development.
  • Drafting strategic business development plans for the re-opening of more than 20 recently closed industrial sites in the Danube region. Focus is both, on the growth of the digital industries and the transformation of traditional industries as well as on the integration of sustainable and inclusive growth aspects in the development of transformative activities for structural change.
  • Providing tangible policy recommendations. Focus will be on the identification of innovation barriers and on the creation of synergies with other European, national and/or regional R&I funding programmes.