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Promoting Regional Innovation Systems in a Global Context


  • Cali Nuur
  • Linda Gustavsson
  • Staffan Laestadius


Ever since the innovation systems (IS) concept was coined in the late 1980s, it has been accepted as a mechanism of economic and technological development in policy circles. This recognition follows a change in our understanding of the characteristics of the innovation process as a non-linear process and having a systemic character. This changed understanding is also reflected in the movement in policy focus from science and technology (S&T) policy towards innovation policy. In recent years, the IS approach has been downscaled from the national level (NIS) to the regional level (RIS), a system's level that has gained the interest of policy makers. There are many rationales for this regionalization of innovation policy. However, as this paper points out, there are several challenges to implement an IS policy on the regional level. Based on a case study of a Swedish regional policy programme, this paper highlights (some of) the challenges related to defining the regional system's domain, implementing functional regions and securing sufficient regional knowledge infrastructure. This paper argues that when the IS approach is put into policy practice and downscaled to the regional level, it stands the risk of losing its strength as a tool for coping with the structural problems connected to innovation and globalization. Based on the identified challenges, the paper is concluded with a number of more general policy implications for IS-based policies with regional intentions.

Suggested Citation

  • Cali Nuur & Linda Gustavsson & Staffan Laestadius, 2009. "Promoting Regional Innovation Systems in a Global Context," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 123-139.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:16:y:2009:i:1:p:123-139
    DOI: 10.1080/13662710902728142

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    Cited by:

    1. Gull, Isabel, 2013. "Das Management von Innovationsclustern: Die operative Clusterführung," Arbeitspapiere 137, University of Münster, Institute for Cooperatives.
    2. Malin Lindberg & Monica Lindgren & Johann Packendorff, 2014. "Quadruple Helix as a Way to Bridge the Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship: The Case of an Innovation System Project in the Baltic Sea Region," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 5(1), pages 94-113, March.
    3. Mickael Benaim & Jean-Alain Héraud & Valérie Mérindol, 2016. "Scientific connectivity of European regions: towards a typology of cooperative schemes," Journal of Innovation Economics, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(3), pages 155-176.
    4. Reza Naghizadeh & Shaban Elahi & Manoochehr Manteghi & Sepehr Ghazinoory & Marina Ranga, 2015. "Through the magnifying glass: an analysis of regional innovation models based on co-word and meta-synthesis methods," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 49(6), pages 2481-2505, November.
    5. Iréne Bernhard, 2016. "Innovation focusing on regional development in a European context - towards a new research agenda," International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19.


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