Regional development

Regional Innovation


Overview OECD Work on Innovation | Publications Contact ‌‌ 

Regions matter for innovation, and innovation matters for regions

Innovation is a source of growth and a tool for addressing global challenges like climate change and social issues such as inequality. Regions are seeking to promote their economic development increasingly through support to innovation. They define and implement strategies and policy instruments to build on their strengths and to shift course.

However, a shared regional vision needs to be grounded in an analysis of regional strengths and weaknesses. The core challenge for regional innovation policies is to ensure a favourable environment for entrepreneurship and business growth to creat jobs. 


Did you know?

  • About 10% of regions account for over half of R&D in the OECD area.
  • The top 10% of OECD regions generate on average about 280 patents per million inhabitants, while 40% produce fewer than 20.
  • In OECD regions, innovation policy portfolios include traditional supply side, demand side and networking instruments, as well as experimental measures.


Innovation and Regional Growth at the OECD

Innovation is the main and increasing source of growth in OECD countries. Growth models centred on social and environmental sustainability need regions to play a key role in shaping virtuous innovation trajectories and in mobilising untapped potential for national growth.

All regions can improve their capacity to adapt knowledge for their region’s innovation needs. OECD work in this area is designed to help policy makers in different fields (regional development, science and technology, enterprise, and economy) at national and regional levels.

 OECD work to support regional innovation and growth includes:


Thematic publications that offer data and best practices on different aspects of innovation-related policies that have a regional dimension or are commonly supported by regions. Current and upcoming themes include:

  • Regional innovation strategies
  • Emerging innovation policy tools in regions
  • Multi-level governance of innovation policies
  • Knowledge networks and markets for innovation generation/diffusion
  • Cross-border innovation support
  • Green clusters and regional innovation
  • Policy dialogue with groups of regions


Peer reviews provide analytic assessment and policy advice for regions, reviews examine the strength of the regional innovation system, the appropriateness of the policy mix for the region’s needs, and the strategic use of the region’s resources given global, national, regional and local factor. For countries, reviews assess the extent to which policies from different policy streams (e.g., regional development, science and technology, enterprise policy and higher education policy) are effective in building regional innovation systems and clusters for the range of region types in the country.


The OECD Regional Database OECD eXplorer allows for international comparisons of innovation indicators at the regional level.




Regions and Innovation  

This report examines cross-border collaboration on innovation, building on case studies of cross-border areas that include the following countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom and Ireland.


Consult the full list of publications on regional innovation.


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