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


  • Wintjes, Rene

    () (UNU-MERIT)

  • Hollanders, Hugo

    () (UNU-MERIT)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Wintjes, Rene & Hollanders, Hugo, 2011. "Innovation pathways and policy challenges at the regional level: smart specialisation," MERIT Working Papers 027, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2011027

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roger Pielke, Jr., 2009. "Innovation Policy in Europe: Measurement and Strategy - Edited by Clare Nauwalers and René Wintjes," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 26(4), pages 494-495, July.
    2. Philip Cooke & Loet Leydesdorff, 2006. "Regional Development in the Knowledge-Based Economy: The Construction of Advantage," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 5-15, January.
    3. Kevin Morgan, 1997. "The Learning Region: Institutions, Innovation and Regional Renewal," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(5), pages 491-503.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kengyel, Ákos, 2012. "Az Európai Unió kohéziós politikájának integrációs jelentősége és szabályozásának jövője
      [The integrative importance of European Union cohesion policy and its regulation future]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(3), pages 311-332.
    2. Edurne Magro Montero & Mari Jose Aranguren & Mikel Navarro, 2011. "Smart Specialisation Strategies: The Case of the Basque Country," Working Papers 2011R07, Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness.
    3. Helen Lawton Smith & Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen & Laurel Edmunds, 2016. "Innovation capacity in the healthcare sector and historical anchors: examples from the UK, Switzerland and the US," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(6), pages 1420-1439, December.
    4. Sandro Montresor & Francesco Quatraro, 2015. "Smart Specialization Strategies and Key Enabling Technologies. Regional evidence from European patent data," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1525, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Aug 2015.
    5. repec:wsi:ijitmx:v:14:y:2017:i:05:n:s0219877017500249 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Rehfeld, Dieter & Terstriep, Judith, 2013. "Regionale Innovationssysteme: 20 Jahre "Regional Innovation System Studies"," Forschung Aktuell 11/2013, Institut Arbeit und Technik (IAT), Westfälische Hochschule, University of Applied Sciences.
    7. Alberto Marzucchi & Davide Antonioli & Sandro Montresor, 2012. "Research cooperation within and across regional boundaries. Does innovation policy add anything?," JRC Working Papers JRC76320, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    8. Turkeli, S. & Wintjes, R., 2014. "Towards the societal system of innovation: The case of metropolitan areas in Europe," MERIT Working Papers 040, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    9. Pombo-Juárez, Laura & Könnölä, Totti & Miles, Ian & Saritas, Ozcan & Schartinger, Doris & Amanatidou, Effie & Giesecke, Susanne, 2017. "Wiring up multiple layers of innovation ecosystems: Contemplations from Personal Health Systems Foresight," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 278-288.

    More about this item


    innovation pathways; regional development; innovation policy;

    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
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes


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