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Carlo Pietrobelli Direttore del CREI, Università Roma Tre IILA – CESPI, Roma 1 Luglio 2009. Programmes to Promote Regional Innovations Systems?. Regional Innovation Systems.

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Programmes to promote regional innovations systems

Carlo PietrobelliDirettore del CREI, Università Roma Trec.pietrobelli@uniroma3.itwww.pietrobelli.tk – CESPI, Roma 1 Luglio 2009

Programmes to Promote Regional Innovations Systems?

Regional innovation systems
Regional Innovation Systems

the rationale for a Regional Innovation System (RIS) stems from the existence of:

  • technological trajectories

  • based on sticky knowledge and localized learning,

  • and knowledge creating organizations.

    RIS : the institutional infrastructure supporting innovation and its diffusion within the production structure of a region (Asheim and Gertler, 2005: 299)

The big question can policies support and nurture or even create a ris
The big question: Can policies support and nurture, or even create, a RIS?

  • Support to RIS is often the indirect objective of other programmes targeting one of the three conceptual dimensions:

  • Enterprise development: programs targeting the productive sector and enterprises, even if their main scope is promoting S&T, or a specific territory.

  • Science and technology. With sophisticated technologies and new industries, collaborative research necessary for invention, innovation and commercialization. S&T&I Programmes also indirectly target a RIS.

  • Regional development. Local assets are essential to promote local development. E.g. assisting local authorities and agencies to adopt a more active and coordinated approach to strengthen the innovative abilities of local business and promote systematic learning.

Programmes to promote regional innovations systems

Sources of Information

Databases, papers and documents on projects to promote innovation, S&T, enterprise development, or territorial development, but all sharing a RIS approach. They include:

  • The European Commission Inno-Policy Trendchart (

  • The ECLAC Science and Technology for Development (CYTDES) project (

  • Erawatch (, EC DG for Research and the Joint Research Centre - Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS).

  • The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and The World Bank (WB) ( and under the link projects

Evaluations as a tool to understand and learn
Evaluations as a tool to understand and learn

  • Evaluations are the most useful tool to assess whether or not a policy or a programme has been successful.

  • … but seldom available, and if they are, they are often short and not enough deep and structured. Moreover, they hardly contain an analysis of the impact of the program, rarely performed by independent evaluators.

    In absence of proper evaluations:

    • the framework in which the program is applied,

    • analysis of program implementation and of the instruments,

    • the contextual factors,

    • the assessment of the so-called “innovation drivers”: human resources, knowledge building and knowledge sharing and entrepreneurship (OECD, 2001).

Lessons and insights
Lessons and insights

  • Clarity of motivation for the intervention (at national as well as regional level).

  • Specialization of the program both in the definition of the areas of intervention and/or of the specific functions addressed.

  • Setting objectives consistent with the time frame of the program. All the short term objectives should be conceptualized as operational tools functionalto reach the long term objectives.

  • Public support is of crucial importance:

    • it finances and helps establish public goods (e.g. agencies, specific S&T funds, research centres and laboratories …);

    • it enhances a flexible and appropriate governance of the system setting the guidelines for linkages and coordination;

    • public commitment raises the credibility.

Lessons and insights1
Lessons and insights

  • A “triple helix” approach of university, industry and government. Continuous flow of ideas and knowledge are enhanced.

  • Private sector engagement in programs’ design and implementation (long-lasting partnerships and the necessary resilience).

  • Coherence and utilization of local assets and measures. Avoid duplications and overlapping.

  • Cluster intermediaries for information and knowledge sharing.

  • Entering into new sectors or strengthening existing traditional ones? completely different challenges. Perhaps easier a catching up also for RIS.

  • Importance of R&D cooperation. The existence of prestigious research organizations in the region.