The Regional Dimensions of Evaluation
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The Regional Dimensions of Evaluation Issues, Particularities and potential Pitfalls 6 CP Spring Workshop 2007, Dublin JOANNEUM RESEARCH- Institute for Technology and Regional Policy Christian Hartmann Wolfgang Polt

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The Regional Dimensions of Evaluation

Issues, Particularities and potential Pitfalls

6 CP Spring Workshop 2007, Dublin

JOANNEUM RESEARCH-Institute for Technology and Regional Policy

Christian Hartmann

Wolfgang Polt



  • Recent trends in Evaluation

  • The Regional Dimension

  • The „typical“ regional Evaluation Project

  • Particularities and potential Pitfalls

Recent Trends in Evaluation

  • Increased emphasis on impact assessment

    • ex-ante ( priority setting,  links to foresight)

    • ex-post ( economic effects,  behavioural additionality)

    • Widening the scope: IA of basic research

  • ‚Concept evaluations‘ (ex-ante, interim)

    • Checking the rationale and early implementation

  • ‚Systemic evaluations‘

    OECD (CSTP Oct 2006, Seoul) asked countries to „improve the capacity to carry out ‚Systemic evaluations‘“

    • Addressing Innovations systems as a whole (TrendCHART; ERAwatch, EIS, OECD STI Scoreboard,..)

    • Addressing the ‚Policy Mixes‘ of countries

    • Addressing portfolios RTDI policy instruments (e.g. direct vs indirect support for private R&D)

  • Asking for the impossible..?

Evaluation in the policy cycle

Evaluation needs a systemic (mulit-actor, multi-level) perspective




The Regional Dimension

Why does the regional dimension of evaluation matter?

  • Regional Innovation Systems

    • Globalisation leads to a growing importance of localized innovation capabilities, that are hard to copy / to transfer

    • The growing importance of regional innovation systems in the economic literature (Asheim et al. 2003, Cooke 2003, Malmberg and Maskell 2002) leads a stronger focus on the regional level in the policy domain

    • The concept of regional innovation systems offers effective (low cost) roads for policy delivery

  • Regionalisation of RTDI Policy

    • Devolution of (innovation) policy competencies in some EU countries (e.g. France, England)

    • Growing interest in RTDI policy at regional level in federal provinces or autonomous regions in EU countries

    • Growing importance of regional RTDI policy at EU-Level (i.e. RIS/RITTS, Regions of knowledge)

Strategic Policy Intelligence in the Regional Dimension

  • Different Levels of Development among European Regions

    • While some European regions already have a long existing practice (like Styria, Basque Country, etc.)…

    • …in particular regions in the NMS are just at the beginning to develop respective structures and processes.

  • Different Degrees of Freedom for SPI in European Regions

    • Size of the region and corresponding capacities for SPI

      • i.e. Catalunya vs. Burgenland

    • Degree of regional autonomy for RTDI policy

      • i.e. Friuli Venezia Giulia (IT) vs. South-Transdanubia (HUN)

The „typical“ regional Evaluation Project

Is there such a thing as a “typical” regional evaluation project?

How typical is “typical” - regional evaluation projects do actually cover a wide range of issues and policy areas

  • Regional Evaluation is often Evaluation of Regional Policy (i.e. Structural Funds)

  • Evaluation in the regional dimension does often mean: Evaluation of small and medium sized programmes with regional funding

    • Regional Cluster Initiatives

    • Regional/Municipal Economic Programmes

  • Evaluation of regional strategic projects

    • Regional Innovation Infrastructures (i.e. Technology / Science Parks)

    • Key projects in the framework of Community Initiatives

Are “typical” regional evaluation projects following the general trends?

“Typical” regional evaluation projects do reflect general trends in evaluation - but with varying degrees of intensity

  • Concept evaluations do already play a big role on the regional level

    • Structural Funds

  • Increasing emphasis of impact assessments on regional level

    • Regional RTDI Programmes

    • Strategic Projects

  • Systemic evaluations are at the moment not (yet) of relevance

The „typical“ regional evaluation project and Strategic Policy Intelligence

  • No (complete) policy cycle for RTDI policy in most European regions

    • Reluctance to confront the past

  • Evaluations are often motivated by the necessity to letigimate the past

    • Evaluations as tools in regional political games

  • There are “natural constraints” for SPI corresponding to the Size and political status of the Region

    • Lack of policy capacities

    • Lack of degrees of freedom for SPI

Potential Pitfalls

Potential Pitfalls of evaluation at the regional level

Roughly the same that face evaluations on all levels, but more accentuated:

  • Lack of capacity to carry out evaluations – and to absorb and implement the results of evaluations

  • Difficulties of ‚role delineation‘: the evaluator as policy maker? Too close to policy

  • Potential to influence the evaluation results because of closeness of policy makers to stakeholders

  • Expectations too high (especially with respect to impact assessment)

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