Innovation pathways and policy challenges at the regional level: smart specialisation

René Wintjes & Hugo Hollanders


This paper highlights the great diversity in development pathways and trajectories of innovation across European regions. A regional knowledge-based economy has multi-dimensional aspects. It includes a variety of knowledge activities and multiple interactions among a range of actors including universities, research institutes, enterprises, knowledge workers and institutions. The spatial patterns and trends for the different aspects of the knowledge-based economy vary significantly across Europe. Most aspects show convergence and generate catching-up processes, while some show divergence between European regions. Overall, absorption capacity has increased in importance and education is an important challenge for future regional development. Place-based innovation policy is essential to enhance synergies among co-evolving knowledge capabilities and encourage smart specialisation.

Keywords: innovation pathways, regional development, innovation policy

JEL Codes: O18, R11

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