European Commission - Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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Annual Report "Credible Actions Key to Regions' Future Innovation Performance"

Report Type: 

Building upon the findings of the first two RIM Annual Reports, this report – which is a third and final in its series deliverable – presents an updated analysis of innovation policies across EU regions, incorporates the results of the recently published Regional Innovation Scoreboard - 2012, and provides an account of benefits which have arisen from improved regional innovation practices.

One of the emerging findings is that there is a pattern in forms of support which seems to indicate that many world-class performing regions have indeed implemented a policy mix that is comparatively well-adapted to their innovation performance and well-suited to improve their economic situation in the long run.  Comparatively, the results of appraisal of innovation policies in regions with strong focus on industrial employment and ‘sciences & services’ regions point to positive aspects but are also used to question some of the policy responses.  Overall, the availability of robust evidence-based assessments leaves room for improvement across the three groups of regions. Without independent assessments of what actually worked and what did not, even more focused policies will suffer from an inherent lack of relatedness to the actual challenges that regions are facing.

Key messages:

  1. Effective policies can make an important difference with a view to a region’s development.  The RIM repository (incl. 1,081 regional innovation policy support measures) documents that dynamic development goes along with good policy practice, i.e. measures with favourable assessments.
  2. There are no simple solutions to complex issues. On the one hand, the above suggests that lagging regions should study the practices of those which have already put effective policies in place.  On the other hand, this should not be done without studying the regional preconditions beforehand.
  3. In regions with competences in the area of higher education policies one would expect to identify policy actions in support of the attraction of research personnel at universities, the transfer of skilled graduates to local firms as well as skills development on the job through training programmes.  In practice, this proves not always to be the case.  Arguably, there are several reasons for this situation. In fact, good human capital policies are one of the most central preconditions to make many other policies work. Regional innovation policies and (higher) education policies are thus also natural issues to coordinate at the EC level.
  4. Finally, a more responsive approach to governance will be required, to lead, coordinate and implement systemic changes through regional innovation policies. Beyond providing framework conditions and infrastructure, responsive regional innovation policy should aim to play the role of a catalyst rather than one of a creator.

The research for this report was undertaken by Technopolis Group, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, and UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University.

We wish you informative and stimulating reading.

Regional Innovation Monitor team.

Download the report here