Tyrol is a western federal state of Austria bordering the states Vorarlberg, Salzburg and Carinthia. Furthermore, Tyrol has borders with Germany to the north, Switzerland to the southwest and Italy to the south. With a total of 711,161 inhabitants (annual average in 2011), Tyrol ranks in 5 th place among the 9 federal states of Austria. Between 2000 and 2010, Tyrol witnessed an above-average increasing trend of the regional population (5.7%; Austria: 4.7%). The region has a surface area of 12,640km² and a population density of 56/km². The state capital is Innsbruck (121,791 inhabitants). Tyrol has a high standard of living and environmental quality and belongs to the richer EU regions. The federal state witnessed a dynamic structural change after WWII from mountain agriculture to an industrial and service-oriented region.
With a GDP of €24.4b in 2009, Tyrol accounts for 8.9% of the Austrian GDP. In the same year, the Tyrolean regional product/ inhabitants reached with 34,600€ 105.2% of the Austrian and 147.2% of the EU-27 average. Comparing Tyrol's nominal gross product between 2000 and 2008, the region witnessed an increase of 40.3% (Austria: 36.4%). Following the economic crisis, the nominal regional products declined in all Austrian federal states in 2009. However, with -0.9%, Tyrol's figure was above the Austrian average (-2.8%). Annual percentage changes of Tyrol's regional gross value added (basic prices) between 2000 and 2008 were between 1.5% (2003) and 4.7% (2005) and thus mostly above the national levels (except in 2004 and 2007). Between 2000 and 2010, the annual average growth of Tyrol's gross value was with 3.0% above the Austrian average of 2.7%. The development of the regional economic performance shows a more differentiated picture: East Tyrol lags behind the GDP/ inhabitant of the other regions. Despite the seasonality of tourism, the unemployment rate of 2.8% in 2010 lies below the Austrian average of 4.4% and also of the EU-27 average (9.6%). Nevertheless, the situation within the NUTS2 region differs with higher unemployment rates in the districts of Landeck, Imst and Lienz.
Tyrol is well-known for its tourism industry, but also has strong manufacturing and research sectors. The share of services significantly increased in recent years. In 2010, 5.5% are employed in the agriculture sector, 24.4% in the manufacturing sector and 70.1% in the service sector (from a total of 364,900 employees). Tyrol's 2010 employment rate of 62.0% is higher than the Austrian (58.3%) and the EU-27 figure (52.0%).
The main manufacturing sectors are glass/chemistry and metal/electronics. In services, tourism plays a major role. The enterprise structure of the Tyrolean economy is characterized by SMEs; 99.7% of companies belong in this category. Larger companies as well as the education and administration infrastructure are largely concentrated in the Innsbruck agglomeration. Interactions between industry, research and education are realised in sectoral networks and clusters with regional strengths in life sciences, mechatronics, renewable energies, information technologies and wellness.
Dynamics in R&D expenditures increased between 2007 and 2009: in 2009, 2.8% of the regional GDP was spent for R&D activities (2007: 2.4%). In 2009, Tyrol lies above the EU27 average (2.01%), and also the national average (2.7%). Out of the nine Austrian federal states, Tyrol reaches the 3rd rank concerning gross expenditures in R&D after Vienna (3.95%) and Steiermark (3.88%). 9.1% of the Austrian GERD are spent in Tyrol, 56% from which by the Tyrolean business sector. In 2009, there were 385 R&D-conducting units in Tyrol. R&D expenditures are quite equally distributed between the business (44.7%) and the public sector (44.6%); further R&D funding stems from foreign sources (8.6%), the EU (1.5%) and the private non-profit sector (0.7%). Public expenditures result from a strong tertiary sector in Tyrol. Mainly due to its strong universities, Tyrol ranks in 1 st position in Austria concerning expenditures for basic research (28.3%). This strength is mirrored in regional publications: in 2008, 15.8% of Austrian publications were produced in Tyrol.
2.8% of total regional employees are working in high-tech industries and knowledge-intensive services (2010) which is below the Austrian average (3.7%). Human resources in science and technology amount to 141,000 in absolute terms, i.e. 7.9% of the national total and 34.0% of the regional active population (2010). Tyrol filed 125 patent applications at the Austrian Patent Office in 2010 which is a share of 5.2% of Austrian applications. In 2009, 89.3 patents per million inhabitants were applied to the European Patent Office. With this figure, Tyrol is on 6th rank among the Austrian federal states (national figure: 94.6 patents per million inh.).
Tyrol´s research and education infrastructure is strong: The higher education landscape comprises the Innsbruck University, the Innsbruck University of Medicine, the Management Centre Innsbruck, the Health and Life Sciences University UMIT, 2 universities of applied sciences and 2 pedagogical universities. These institutes offer a broad spectrum for more than 30,000 students. Furthermore, nearly 20 non-university research institutions and competence centres - such as 2 Christian Doppler laboratories, academy institutes, further research and competence centres - belong to the regional research system.
Tyrol is a federal state of the Republic of Austria. Each Austrian state has an elected legislature (Landtag), a state government (Landesregierung), and a governor (Landeshauptmann). Research and technology policy is in the responsibility of the national government, but the Austrian federal states increasingly engage in these fields.
Tyrol introduced diverse policy instruments and actors in RTDI policy. Six clusters and six competence centres are currently operating in the region. The "Standortagentur Tirol" ("Locational Agency Tyrol") aims to increase the competitiveness and performance of the business location Tyrol. It coordinates supporting instruments, offers advisory services for enterprises and research institutes, practices location and technology marketing and supports education and training. The "Wirtschaftskammer Tirol" ("Economic Chamber Tyrol") represents the interests of enterprises. The "Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft Österreich (FFG)" ("Research Foundation Austria") is the national promoter of applied and business-friendly research in Austria. Other business-promoting and enterprise-supporting federal agencies are the "Austrian Business Agency (ABA)", which conducts settlement policies for industries and the "Austrian Economic Service GmbH (AWS)", which among other things sustains enterprises with loans and other financial support.
Regional technology transfer activities are realised e.g. through the Centre for Academic Spin-offs Tyrol (CAST), the transfer centre of the University Innsbruck transidee-transferzentrum universität Innsbruck gmbH, the coordination centre for clinical studies KKS Innsbruck, the Center of Excellence in Medicine and IT GmbH CEMIT, as well as the Locational Agency.
Tyrol has a strategic view on research policy and a rich research sector which shows academic strengths and research-intensive large firms. In this context, the state implements various policy instruments such as clusters, competence centres, networks, business plan competitions and incubators, and supports research and development. Based on the EU funding period 2007-2013, the federal state government set up the operational programme "Regionale Wettbewerbsfähigkeit Tirol 2007-2013" (regional competitiveness of Tyrol 2007-2013). It is administered by the Department of Spatial Planning and Statistics of the regional government. In fact, much of the overall strategy for regional RTDI support has to a large degree been jointly developed with the structural funds operational programme and tailored to its requirements. The current operational programme aims to promote innovation and the knowledge-based economy, strengthening regional attractiveness and competitiveness as well as supporting the innovative and network capability of regional enterprises.
Furthermore, there are several policy documents which coexist. The "Leitbild ZukunftsRaum Tirol" ("vision future-oriented location Tyrol") focuses on the state´s development, with the main focus on regional spatial development. The "Wirtschaftsleitbild Tirol" ("Economic Vision Tyrol") develops strategic approaches and respective measures for the regional policy activities. It refers to five main aspects, one of which is the support of research and development. The "Standortstrategie Tirol" ("Locational strategy Tyrol") is a strategic marketing instrument which aims at the external promotion of the Land Tyrol. The technology strategy of Tyrol is represented by the "Technologieoffensive Tirol: Innovation schafft Arbeit" ("Technology Offensive Tyrol: Innovation creates Employment"), which comprises measures to counteract the shortage of skilled labour and to secure sustainable employment through knowledge and innovation in Tyrol.