OECD Reviews of Regional Innovation

1997-6585 (online)
1997-6577 (print)
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These reviews of regional innovation examine issues connected to innovation as the regional level as well as reviews of innovation policy for specific regions.
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OECD Reviews of Regional Innovation: Basque Country, Spain 2011

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07 Apr 2011
9789264097377 (PDF) ;9789264097360(print)

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The Basque Country region in Spain is world renowned for a successful industrial transformation, the urban regeneration of Bilbao, cultural distinctiveness, unique governance arrangements and high wealth levels. Over the last 30 years, the region has implemented its science, technology and innovation (STI) policy driven by a need to boost industrial competitiveness. The role of total factor productivity and innovation in driving growth was significant in the 1990s and declined in the early part of this decade, but appears to be on the rise again thanks in part to significant increases in public and private investment in innovation.  The Basque Country has begun a transition from a model of incremental innovation in manufacturing to a model increasingly based on science and other forms of knowledge. Through a diagnostic of the innovation system and the policy mix, the review offers some policy and governance recommendations to achieve the region’s desired transition in light of global trends in the innovation process and innovation policy.
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  • Foreword
    Strong dynamics of innovation generation in regions are crucial for achieving national innovation policy objectives. In addition, innovation performance can contribute to improving the overall economic competitiveness of individual regions. Policy recommendations are therefore being sought by national science and technology and regional policy actors, as well as by the regions themselves.
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Assessment and recommendations
    Innovation is increasingly seen as the main source of growth for stronger, cleaner, fairer economies. This has been highlighted in recent key reports and strategies, such as the OECD Innovation Strategy and Europe’s Innovation Union. This broader approach has resulted in a renewed reflection on what innovation is and is used for. It also leads to a greater recognition of the importance of innovation for regional governments to support their social and economic development needs.
  • Introduction
    Over the past decade, the notion of innovation in OECD member countries has broadened, reflecting important changes in the dynamics, scope and patterns of innovative activities. These changes affect all developed countries or regions regardless of their institutional or structural specificities.2 While efforts have been made to improve the measurement of innovation,3 the implications of these changes are taken into account in the policy-making process with a certain time lag.
  • Innovation and the Basque economy
    The Basque Country region in Spain is well known for its successful industrial transformation and high levels of wealth. Is the innovation system prepared to transition from a model of incremental innovation in manufacturing to a model based on science and other forms of knowledge? This chapter provides an overview of the Basque Country’s socio-economic trends, including sub-regional variations. It explores the factors driving the region’s growth and productivity, with an emphasis on innovation-related indicators, to explore the so-called "Basque competitive paradox". The chapter concludes with an overview of the key actors in the regional innovation system.
  • Basque Country STI policy
    Over the last 30 years, the Basque Country has implemented an STI policy driven by a need to boost industrial competitiveness adapted to the region’s industrial footprint. This chapter first reviews the evolution of STI policy in order to understand the region’s position today in terms of policy mix and system actors. It then analyses the region’s current STI policies and programmes to assess the relevance of different measures for current and future innovation challenges. Finally, it reviews aspects of the policy mix that merit further adjustment in future STI plans, including emerging areas in innovation policy.
  • Multi-level governance of Basque Country STI policy
    This chapter first highlights the special position of the Basque Country within Spain with respect to its fiscal regime and STI competences. It then analyses the policy influence and level of resource flows from higher levels of government, notably Spain and the European Union. It reviews the horizontal governance arrangements within the Basque Country government among the different public and private stakeholders that are (or should be) responsible for setting the STI strategy and policy agenda as well as implementing a whole-of-government approach to innovation. The role of sub-regional entities, including the three provinces and local development agencies, is discussed as they are active in some instruments related to STI policy. Finally, the importance of filling gaps in monitoring and evaluation is raised.
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