OECD Reviews of Regional Innovation: Regions and Innovation Policy


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Pages 315


Regions and Innovation Policy addresses the needs of national and regional governments for greater clarity on how to strengthen the innovation capacity of regions. The first part of the book examines strategies, policies and governance, explaining why regions matter, what makes smart policy mixes, and multilevel governance.  The second part of the book looks at agencies, instruments and country information, showing how agencies can maximise their impact and what policy instruments work. The final chapter provides country-by-country summaries of what countries are doing.


For the policy brief, Policy Brief.


Table of contents

Part I: Strategies, Policies and Governance

Executive summary

English version  | French version


Chapter 1 – Why regions matter for innovation policy today
Chapter 2 – Road maps and smart policy mixes for regional innovation
Chapter 3 – Multi-level governance of innovation policy
Chapter 4 – Conclusions and policy advice

Part II: Agencies, Instruments and Country Information

Chapter 5 – Maximising the impact of regional innovation agencies
Chapter 6 – Policy instruments for regional innovation

Country profiles

Austria | Belgium | Canada | Czech Republic | Denmark | Finland | France

Germany | Hungary | Italy | Korea | Mexico | Netherlands | Norway | Poland

Portugal | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | United Kingdom | United States


Key facts and policy issues

Uniform innovation policies are unlikely to boost growth in the bottom “two-thirds”. The top 4% of regions accounted for one-third of OECD growth from 1995-2005, but the other 96% for the remaining two-thirds. Furthermore, half of total OECD R&D investment takes place in 13% of regions; the top 20% of regions account for 50% of patenting.

OECD’s new Regions and Innovation Policy notes that as regions increase their role, coherence across levels of government is more important given tight budgets. In Belgium, Germany and China, regions are responsible for at least 50% of public R&D-related spending and the share has been growing over the last five years in most countries. Most regions and national governments also report using many of the same innovation policy instruments.

Collaboration in global networks is growing, but the nature of regional models varies. Among the top patenting regions in green technologies, Hokuriku has few foreign co-inventions; Baden-Württemberg has an open and international network focused on Northern Europe and the US; and California is a leading hub in the global network, also collaborating with regions in emerging countries such as India and China.


  • Make innovation central to regional development policies (e.g. Switzerland’s New Regional Policy, US federal government’s inter-agency emphasis on regional innovation clusters)
  • Spend efficiently by co-ordinating innovation policies  across all levels of government
  • Regional innovation strategies should: define, monitor and evaluate success; address economic areas (such as the trans-border Öresund region between Denmark and Sweden), not just administrative regions; recognise the region’s role in the complex global networks that support innovation; and better leverage private sector expertise and funds

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Readers can access the full version of OECD Reviews of Regional Innovation: Regions and Innovation Policy by choosing from the following options:

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