The Regional and Urban Policy of the European Union

The Regional and Urban Policy of the European Union

Cohesion, Results-Orientation and Smart Specialisation

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Philip McCann

The regional and urban development policy of the European Union, or more precisely, EU Cohesion Policy, is undergoing change. This development is driven by the enormous transformations in European regions and by shifts in thinking and analysis. The issues raised by the changes to regional and urban development policy in Europe span many academic disciplines and build on different research methodologies. A broad approach is required in order to address these issues and this book explicitly incorporates insights from a range of different disciplines. After examining the major regional and urban features of the European economy and discussing the analytical underpinnings of the current re-design to EU Cohesion Policy, the book also aims to provide a road map of the various EU regional and urban data-sources which are available to researchers and policy-makers. This book is aimed at all economists, geographers, regional scientists, spatial planners, transportation scientists, sociologists, urban studies researchers, environmental scholars, political scientists and policy-analysts who are interested in regional and urban issues.

Chapter 5: Innovation, regions and the case for regional innovation policies

Philip McCann

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, urban economics, geography, cities, urban and regional studies, cities, regional economics, regional studies, urban economics, urban studies


We have already seen in previous chapters that Europe’s regions are highly heterogeneous in terms of their characteristics and also they are very heterogeneous in terms of the complex and varied development challenges they face. In terms of the policy logic and policy architecture, this also implies that the challenges facing the design and redesign of EU Cohesion Policy needs to be both sufficiently flexible to respond to these different local challenges, while at the same time, maintaining a coherent overall logic and discipline to the design and the delivery of the policy in all of the regions of Europe. One of the central themes in today’s debates regarding development policy, and one which has emerged both from a wide variety of different academic fields as well as the wide-ranging experience of national and international development agencies, is the issue of innovation. It is nowadays widely accepted that economic growth and development depend critically on promoting and enhancing innovation and entrepreneurship at all levels and stages of development and across all areas of the economy and society. The literature on innovation systems (Iammarino and McCann 2013) argues that the processes driving innovation will be different in different contexts (Iammarino and McCann 2006), and that there is no single blueprint or template for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. Innovation-promoting policies must therefore be adaptable to different contexts, and in particular must dovetail with, and aim to enhance, the capabilities and capacity of the local people, actors and institutions.

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