Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth
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Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth

Edited by Philip Cooke, Bjørn Asheim, Ron Boschma, Ron Martin, Dafna Schwartz and Franz Tödtling

Today, economic growth is widely understood to be conditioned by productivity increases which are, in turn, profoundly affected by innovation. This volume explores these key relationships between innovation and growth, bringing together experts from both fields to compile a unique Handbook.
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Chapter 44: Regional Innovation Policy between Theory and Practice

Arnoud Lagendijk


Arnoud Lagendijk INTRODUCTION Over the three decades to 2010, regional innovation policies have gained a prominent position in the wider field of economic support. This applies in particular to the European Union (EU), where much of the structural support is channelled through the regional development funding, of which a growing part is aimed at innovation support (Bachtler et al., 2007). Regional initiatives have also been tied more closely to the EU’s innovation and competitiveness policies (Soete, 2009). In other parts of the world, regional innovation has been used as an inspiring concept notably for substantial regional clustering and knowledge transfer initiatives (Blien and Maier, 2008). This chapter will first provide a historical overview of policy development, with emphasis on the European case, followed by a more in-depth discussion of the theoretical and policy rationales behind the policy. The latter will also serve to highlight some dilemmas and issues surrounding regional innovation policy, which will be discussed in the final section. REGIONAL INNOVATION POLICY: FROM LOCAL EXPERIMENTS TO A MULTILEVEL FRAMEWORK The concept of regional innovation policy dates back to the 1960s and 1970s, when the first attempts were made to apply national innovation policy practices to the regional level. The concept can be traced back to initial attempts in France to boost the technological potential of regional growth poles (Cooke, 1985). Consequently, the concept has made inroads through its adoption and diffusion by the European Community (Molle, 1983). After providing some key definitions, this section will provide a historical sketch...

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