SMART-IST, Smart Institutions for Territorial Development

Thematic scope

The targeted analysis will address the institutional factors explaining the efficiency of public institutions in designing and implementing successful territorial development strategies and policy in the framework of EU Cohesion Policy. The main objective of this targeted analysis is to develop a common methodology aiming at recognizing, assessing and enhance institutional efficiency. This methodology will also support the identification of technical assistance measures to be adopted at central and regional government levels in order to strengthen the administrative capacity for the implementation of Cohesion Policy. In this regard, the identification of successful experiences or methods seen as a benchmark for other regions in Europe, represent a relevant expected result of the analysis.

The targeted analysis will mainly address selected territories of France and Italy. However, it will be extended to two additional case studies selected according to their relevance in relation to the goal of the targeted analysis (likely including one of the Member States having joined in 2004 or one of the current accessing countries). The identification of the two additional case studies will be decided during the implementation phase in cooperation between the TPG and the stakeholders.

Please read more about the main areas of analysis and main results envisaged on the next page.


  • Department for Development and Economic Cohesion of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (Lead Stakeholder)
  • Interministerial Delegation for the Development and Competitiveness of Territories (DATAR) of the French Government

Lead Partner

Dipartimento di Architettura e Pianificazione (DiAP) Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Detailed information on the contracted project team can be found under Transnational Project Groups.

Budget: € 345.803,00

Project’s lifetime: October 2010 – July 2012

Delivery of Reports

Inception Report: 2 June 2011

Interim Report: 14 November 2011

Draft Final Report: 13 April 2012

Final Report: 15 June 2012


Reports will be published once they are approved by the ESPON Monitoring Committee

More information

Please contact the Project Expert at the ESPON Coordination Unit:
Sara FERRARA, e-mail: [email protected]

Main areas of analysis

The analysis of the SMART-IST project will concentrate on an integrated approach that will endeavour to combine the institutional dimension with the territorial dimension. It will concentrate on past programming periods and existing strategies and will draw recommendations for structural funds policy adjustments during the 2007-2013 programming period. The comparison of different case studies will allow identifying relevant aspects of good governance and will stimulate a learning process from successful institutions.

The development of a common methodology should be able to identify, measure and promote improvements in the efficiency of public institutions involved in the implementation of Structural Funds. This common methodology should also serve to analyse potential effects of incentives, both for institutions and human resources.

In particular, the targeted analysis is expected to be organized around three main components: i) a general analysis of the institutional environment that characterizes the selected NUTS II regions, which will allow indentifying the institutional factors behind the management of structural funds in the regions; ii) an in depth study, through thematic approaches, of the institutional factors behind the implementation of some relevant policy measures for territorial development or tools; iii) the identification of an appropriate methodology to measure and enhance institutional efficiency.

Main results envisaged

The envisaged results of the targeted analysis are the following:

  • Identification of common institutional prerequisites that are deemed essential for effective territorial development strategies and policies.
  • Impact analysis of Cohesion policy rules and methods on institutional performance.
  • Assessment of policy options that can be adopted to build capacities for an efficient implementation of Structural Funds (appropriate measures, actions, tools acting on the institutional setting, on the administration capacity and on the human resources that can be implemented to improve institutional capacity and efficiency).
  • Development of a common and transferable methodology based on homogeneous and comparable indicators, in order to measure, compare and promote improvements in the performance and institutional capacity of public authorities responsible for the implementation Structural Funds programmes.
  • Development of performance indicators on institutional efficiency (the stakeholders will complement data and information already available in the ESPON scientific platform).
  • Empirical evidence on the link between public sector efficiency and regional economic growth


Final Report

  • Acrobat Document | 547KB

Draft Final Report

  • Acrobat Document | 14.04MB

Interim Report

  • Acrobat Document | 227KB

Inception Report

  • Acrobat Document | 513KB

Project Specifications

  • Acrobat Document | 64KB