It is at the sub-national level that the final translation of knowledge into economically relevant activities takes place. It is also at this level that 'learning' capacities can be best organised through networks and public-private partnerships, in order to ensure that knowledge flows irrigate the economy and resources are most efficiently used for tackling specific economic development objectives.
Given the increasing complexity of challenges, the importance of informed decisions and management capacities of regional decision-makers in innovation grows.
The implied need for more widespread structured forward thinking at regional and local levels, connected with Foresight activities at national and EU levels, is highlighted in the Communication on the Regional Dimension of the European Research Area ( - 160 KB)(COM(2001)549 final).
It emphasises that, together with innovation and education and training, research brings a new message to regional economies, allowing for new forms of advancement keeping pace with local but also international developments.