The main aim of the REGIO_SPIN project is that of increasing the capacity of policy makers to design appropriate regional innovation policies in the European Union (EU). Regarding innovation policies, a paradigm shift in regional policy has occurred over the last decade in the EU, bringing innovation at the core of the regional agenda. The availability of Structural Funds, as the instrument for the EU cohesion policy, has provided regions substantial resources for innovation policy. The emphasis on the contextual nature of policy has led towards a differentiated territorial innovation policy approach or place-based policies also in EU regional policy.In fact, regional policies are still far away from being place-based: they are often similar and based on policy imitation of 'best practices’. Furthermore, their effectiveness has been questioned. Some key questions arise: Is the region the optimal scale for innovation policy? Do regions have the necessary institutional capability to manage innovation policy? Are regional institutions learning? According to which criteria policies encouraging University-Industry linkages should be designed? These are questions which go at the hearth of the place-based approach of the EU cohesion policy.The REGIO_SPIN project proposal aims to respond to these questions on the ground of empirical evidence. It will take an interdisciplinary perspective bringing together policy-oriented research with the geography of innovation and system of innovation, and the role of institutions. The empirical analysis, covering the European regions in several countries, is divided into three objectives: i. To explore the relationship between quality of the institutions and innovation policy impact; ii. To explore the extent to which policy leads to institution building; and iii. To explore the connection between different the nature of University-Industry linkages and types of Regional Innovation Systems.
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