1. Introduction: Anchoring Europe’s New Agenda for Sustainable Growth in Regional Settings
‘A functional global circular economy can be built incrementally starting from the interconnection of national circular economies that rely on interconnected regional circular economies’.
- Who are the relevant stakeholders that should be involved in the implementation of the CE at the regional level?
- How can they be mobilised, involved, engaged, and aligned?
- How can they promote or hinder the transition?
- How do they interact among themselves?
- What are their roles?
2. The Concept and Method of the Study
3. Conceptual Research: Setting the Underlying Premises of the Model through Literature Review
3.1. An Opportunity for Europe to Generate Value from Diversity
‘Smart specialisation is the necessary implementation strategy for the Green Deal. It combines direction (top-down approach by setting long-term goals that foster joint investment commitments) and autonomy (bottom-up approach for finding the most successful economic solutions through joint experimentation of new system solutions)’.
This “de-globalisation” of material flows (because of internalisation of transport costs and more efficient digital technologies for local production) will be an opportunity for the re-industrialisation of Europe with a circular economy model, closing loops at the level closest to the users of customised product-service combinations. In such a transition, the capacities of quadruple-helix clusters in EU countries, regions and cities, to adapt to the new sustainability enhancing regulations with new technologies and new social contracts, is our best competitive asset .
3.2. The Role of RIS3 within the Place-Based Narrative
‘Place-based policies are geared towards using local characteristics, complexity and interconnectedness to spur local and more inclusive growth. Place-based strategies combine proximity and critical mass to both bring together a set of stakeholders but also to access knowledge and funding to pursue chosen development strategies’.
- ‘Diversification based on knowledge flows from a firm-level process where knowledge, core competences and resources from existing industries are used in new industries and where entrepreneurs combine their knowledge with knowledge from other industries or knowledge providers .
- Strengthening and exploiting the “connectivity” between related activities within a region as well as between the region and other regions that can bring in new knowledge and resources related to existing activities in the region .
- Economic activities are linked to place identity, not only economically, but also physically, socially, environmentally and culturally, so interactions between these factors bind the economic activities to the specific place ’.
3.3. A Regional Pact for Sustainable and Fair Growth
‘The transition to the circular economy will be systemic, deep and transformative, in the EU and beyond. It will be disruptive at times, so it has to be fair. It will require an alignment and cooperation of all stakeholders at all levels—EU, national, regional and local, and international’.
4. Desk-Based Research: Proposing a Living Constellation of Regional Stakeholders
4.1. The Proposed Circular Economy-Centric Quintuple-Helix Model
4.2. The Proposed Approaches and Development/Co-Operation Platforms
- Horizontal platforms, which exist between same level actors (i.e., cooperation platform between research institutions, illustrated in Figure 4);
- Vertical (multilevel) platforms, which exist between different levels of actors (i.e., cooperation platforms between local, regional, and national public authorities, illustrated in Figure 4).
5. Practice-Oriented Research: Practical Application of the Model
5.1. The Greek Case: Region of Central Macedonia
5.2. The Spanish Case: Region of Galicia
6. Implications and Future Research Agenda
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Academia||South-East European Research Centre (SEERC)|
|Government||Region of Central Macedonia|
|Industry||Biogas Lagada SA|
|Civil society||Let’s do it Greece|
|Hybrid organisation||The Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES)|
|Horizontal||The Association of Greek Regions (EN. P. E.)|
|Vertical (multilevel)||The European Committee of the Regions (CoR)|
|Multilateral||The Cluster of Bioeconomy and Environment of Western Macedonia (CLuBE)|
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