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From Concept to Policy: Building Regional Innovation Systems in Follower Regions


  • Alexandre Almeida

    () (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)

  • António Figueiredo

    () (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)

  • Mário Rui Silva

    () (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)


In the spirit of “The Lisbon strategy”, public policies are redirecting support from investment-driven policies to knowledge building as the main driver for competitiveness and innovation. This re-orientation poses different challenges to regions and RIS concept may be the central element, simultaneously goal and toolbox, for devising innovation promotion policies. The RIS framework stresses the need to combine a systemic and inclusive view of innovation along with territorially embedded specificities. In this paper we explore how to operationalize the concept of RIS in terms of innovation policy, arguing against a “one size fits all” approach. Concentrating our analysis on follower regions, we bridge the concept of RIS with the structural deficiencies and challenges posing to this kind of regions, for which innovation policy should seek an adequate combination between science push and demand pull perspectives. We also address the importance of taking advantage of the catching-up status, building upon R&D cost-advantages and clustering around external initiatives as well as the correction of important constraints to the construction of a RIS.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandre Almeida & António Figueiredo & Mário Rui Silva, 2008. "From Concept to Policy: Building Regional Innovation Systems in Follower Regions," FEP Working Papers 301, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:301

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
    2. Walter Kuemmerle, 1999. "The Drivers of Foreign Direct Investment into Research and Development: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 30(1), pages 1-24, March.
    3. Romer, Paul, 1993. "Idea gaps and object gaps in economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 543-573, December.
    4. Fagerberg, Jan, 1987. "A technology gap approach to why growth rates differ," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2-4), pages 87-99, August.
    5. Jan Youtie & Maurizio Iacopetta & Stuart Graham, 2008. "Assessing the nature of nanotechnology: can we uncover an emerging general purpose technology?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 315-329, June.
    6. Simon Teitel, 2006. "On semi-industrialized countries and the acquisition of advanced technological capabilities," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 171-194.
    7. Kumar, Nagesh, 1996. "Intellectual property protection, market orientation and location of overseas R&D activities by multinational enterprises," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 673-688, April.
    8. Meyer-Krahmer, Frieder & Reger, Guido, 1999. "New perspectives on the innovation strategies of multinational enterprises: lessons for technology policy in Europe," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 751-776, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mate-Sanchez-Val, Mariluz & Harris, Richard, 2014. "Differential empirical innovation factors for Spain and the UK," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 451-463.

    More about this item


    Innovation; Regional Innovation Systems; Innovation Policy; Follower Regions;

    JEL classification:

    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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