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




why does the regional dimension of evaluation matter
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
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)
is there such a thing as a 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
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
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 of evaluation at the regional level
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)