Table of Contents

  • Romania’s eight regions have vastly different economies, demographics, and industrial structures, and large regional disparities in investment, productivity, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and employment, as well as citizen well-being – calling for a place-based approach to strategic planning. Innovation is a critical component of regional development overall, and strengthening innovation capacities can help to bridge regional disparities, not least given Romania’s fairly modest innovation performance. Better innovation outcomes depend on sufficient regional capacity to design and implement strategic planning for innovation and for the region overall. They also depend on effective regional structures dedicated to advancing innovation. The need to improve strategic planning capacity and better identify innovation support opportunities is particularly urgent as Romania’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) take on new responsibilities as regional Managing Authorities for European Union Cohesion Policy funds in the 2021-27 period.

  • French

    Romania’s eight development regions are each composed of vastly different economies, demographics and industrial structures. In 2021, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the Bucharest-Ilfov region was EUR 28 300, more than double the national average of EUR 12 600 and over 3 times larger than the least-performing region (North-East), with a GDP per capita of EUR 8 300. The majority of Romanian regions also lag behind OECD averages, with lower GDP per capita and labour productivity, and the European Commission’s Regional Innovation Scoreboard classified all eight regions as “emerging innovators” – the lowest performing category of the Scoreboard – in 2023. In addition, Romania’s population has been shrinking since 2012, by around -0.6% per annum, and by more in the southern and western parts of the country. Only Bucharest-Ilfov has managed to avoid population loss in the last decade.

  • This chapter highlights key insights into the Romanian system for regional strategic planning and innovation support. It summarises the main recommendations emanating from this work with concrete examples of actions proposed for the eight Romanian Regional Development Agencies, the Association of Romanian Regional Development Agencies, as well as Romania’s national government. Based on lessons learned from the Romanian experience, the chapter also consolidates elements that policy makers could consider when designing and delivering regional development and innovation policies, particularly in regions seeking to build planning and innovation capacity.

  • This chapter provides an overview of regional development and innovation in Romania’s eight regions. It explores recent economic trends, provides an overview of Romania’s territorial arrangements, and demonstrates the significant differences in demography, productivity, and well-being in evidence among its regions. These include measures of economic and social development, as well as analysis of the policy, institutional and funding structures that are currently in place. The chapter also introduces the role of Romania’s Regional Development Agencies and provides an overview of their strategic planning and innovation support responsibilities.

  • This chapter identifies and assesses the major challenges for Romania’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in strategic planning for regional development. The analysis covers three dimensions: i) strategy, planning and performance measurement; ii) finance and implementation of regional development strategies; and iii) communication and stakeholder engagement. It highlights strengths, successes, limitations, and priority areas for future improvement under these three dimensions. The chapter also includes relevant examples from outside Romania and identifies new opportunities that its RDAs could potentially pursue in the coming years.

  • This chapter identifies and assesses the major challenges for Romania’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in delivering innovation support services. It highlights strengths, successes, limitations, and priority areas for future improvement. External challenges, particularly those associated with the region’s innovation ecosystem, are also included. The chapter explores the role of other influential stakeholders in innovation policy, examines relevant case studies from outside Romania and identifies new opportunities that its RDAs could potentially pursue in coming years. Furthermore, it offers insights into broader innovation issues and developments in Romania and how RDAs can better take advantage of regional, national, and international opportunities.