Landeshauptmann Mag. Thomas Stelzer


Dear RLS Partners

and friends!

Dear RLS Partners and Friends!

Connect the best! This is not only a vision. This is what we do in our RLS partnership, which already connects and enhances us for over 20 years now. It means two decades of special friendship and common growth.

As the 10th Regional Leaders’ Summit in Linz had to be postponed due to the worldwide pandemic, we have bundled our power in a common virtual conference in November 11, 2021. Anew strong and smart.

“Smart Regions” is our summits’ topic. A decisive factor for the future competitiveness of each location is how well it succeeds in transforming research into innovative products and services thus ultimately into economic success.

Upper Austria as a smart region consistently focuses on the alignment of politics along the innovation chain education-research-economy, represented by the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria (FH OÖ), the research management company Upper Austrian Research (UAR) and the Upper Austrian business agency Business Upper Austria (Biz-up).

Smart Specialization is the basis. In accordance with the motto “strengthening strengths, daring new things”, the strategic goals, topics and measures are based on the existing economic structures.

With this brochure we want to show that the term “smart” has already found its way into our daily life, including smart best practice examples to be highlighted. The smart approach runs through all dimensions: “Smart Economy”, “Smart Living”, “Smart People”, “Smart Buildings”, “Smart Governance”, “Smart Environment” and “Smart Mobility”. We want to learn from each other and want to connect each other globally. What we can already say now: The smartest regions will be the strongest regions – and we all want to be top global players.

But we also have learnt one important message from 2020: We not only need to be strong and smart, we also need to be healthy. Healthy of course in terms of a successful economic development. But especially healthy in a medical sense. We also need to work closely together in a way we have shown is possible with our common “Digital Health Initiative on COVID-19“.

Therefore, I wish us all lots of physical health for the upcoming common 20 years to continue our successful way of a strong and smart partnership.

All my best!

Thomas Stelzer
Governor of Upper Austria



Markus Soeder

© Bayerische Staatskanzlei

We live in a world of change. Climate, digital transformation and the current Covid-19 pandemic are just a few examples that show how global challenges do not stop at national or regional borders. Only by working together can we face these challenges.

With our strong network of partner regions, we are ideally positioned for this task. In our “smart regions”, we develop innovative solutions for a multitude of use cases. Our scientific network, RLS-Sciences, just recently started the “Digital Health” initiative to provide a platform for novel areas of research and collaboration.

It is by bringing together people and ideas, by commonly seizing opportunities that we can better the lives for everyone. Let us therefore give our successful cooperation across five continents a new drive for an ever “smarter” connected world of tomorrow!

bavariaMarkus Söder
Bavarian Prime Minister



Brian Kemp


“As an alliance dedicated to visionary, international partnerships that help drive development and keep us competitive, our fellow RLS participants will appreciate the State of Georgia’s approach to addressing the key issues and emerging technologies that will determine our future. …

With our strong network of partner regions, we are ideally positioned for this task. In our “smart regions”, we develop innovative solutions for a multitude of use cases. Our scientific network, RLS-Sciences, just recently started the “Digital Health” initiative to provide a platform for novel areas of research and collaboration.

… Georgia’s economic competitiveness is driven by a partnership-focused approach to economic development in every region of our great state. We continue to invest heavily in growing innovative industry sectors and “smart cities” that serve as laboratories for forward-focused solutions. Through the Georgia Centers of Innovation, the newly established Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, and other public-private partnerships, we are making strategic advancements in transportation, broadband, and health care to develop solutions that create a foundation that can be replicated beyond our border. We look forward to engaging with our partner regions to share best practices and keep our economies thriving.”

GeorgiaBrian Kemp
Governor of Georgia



© Government du Québec

When Québec hosted the 9th Regional Leaders’ Summit in May 2018, we could never have predicted that we would be living uncertain times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the challenges we have faced over the course of the last year highlighted the important role our partnership plays. For almost 20 years now, the Summit has been a forum for us to share expertise and prepare for the world of tomorrow. This work is all the more relevant at a time when societies across the globe are working hard to pull themselves out of this crisis and relaunch their economies.

During the virtual edition of the 10th Regional Leaders’ Summit, we will be discussing “Smart Regions”. Digital technology—among other fields of the future—plays a key role in the development of these types of solutions. Québec is recognized as a world-class leader in artificial intelligence and information technologies thanks to our ground-breaking firms and researchers. Québec, proud to be one of the founding members of the Regional Leader’s Summit, is more than ever determined to create wealth internationally by working with its partners.

I would like to extend a warm thank you to Governor Thomas Stelzer for hosting this virtual forum!

François Legault
Prime Minister of Québec


São Paulo

© São Paulo State Government

Subnational governments can impact their countries towards a more inclusive, sustainable and technological society.

In the State of São Paulo we believe and invest in science and technology.

We are constantly innovating our infrastructure in order to create smart regions. Therefore, we have launched the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Brazil (C4IR Brazil), the Centre for Artificial Intelligence (C4IA) and the International Centre for Technology and Innovation (CITY SP).

The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), an active member of RLS-Sciences, is deeply involved in manycooperation projects with international partners.

During the pandemic, we have substantially increased investments in health and as a consequence the Butantan Institute has produced and delivered more than 100 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19.

I firmly believe that international cooperation is fundamental to build a more sustainable and smart post-pandemic world.

João Doria
Governor of the State of São Paulo



© Affairs Office Shandong

Deepening Exchange and Cooperation for a Smart Life

Gathering gives us inspirations and cooperation opens up the future. The 10th Regional Leaders’ Summit provides valuable opportunities for partners to conduct cooperation in smart life, smart economy, smart transport, smart environment and smart government. Over the years, Shandong has promoted the building of a new type of smart city, and accelerated digital transition in various areas. We have elevated the level of the Internet Plus Government Services model to develop smart application scenarios in traveling, education, and health and bring tangible benefits to the people. Going forward, we will promote 5G deployment and networking across the board and strengthen the application of the Internet of Things and AI to make cities smarter. COVID-19 reminds us that our interests are closely entwined and so are our futures. Shandong values the RLS mechanism and stands ready to take this summit as a new opportunity to contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

ZHOU Naixiang
Governor of Shandong Province

South Africa

Western Cape

© Western Cape Government

Regional governments which have the capabilities and capacity to do more, should. This will bring quality services closer to citizens.

In doing so, smart regional governments must facilitate an environment conducive to employment creation, including tech-enabled government services, ease of doing business and the development of skills for the economy.

In responding to Covid-19, the Western Cape Government (WCG) has built capability in data and analytics to provide real-time intelligence that guides decision making and the allocation of resources towards geographic “hotspots.” We are now applying these lessons learnt to our recovery, so that we remain agile and innovative in everything we do.

It is also why we are establishing an Innovation Hub at our Provincial Training Institute, located in the Cape Winelands region of our province.

I welcome the opportunity to engage with fellow regional leaders at the RLS and look forward to sharing ideas and best practice toward building a better future that will help deliver the jobs, safety and well-being that our citizens deserve.

Alan WindeWestern-Cape
Premier of Western Cape