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OECD Reviews of Regional Innovation, North of England, United Kingdom 2008

image of OECD Reviews of Regional Innovation, North of England, United Kingdom 2008
With 14.5 million inhabitants and an economy worth over EUR 290 billion, the North of England is larger than many European countries. At the heart of the industrial revolution, the region has been a historic centre for world-changing innovation in transport, computing and in vitro fertilisation. Yet, in the wake of massive losses in manufacturing employment over the past few decades, the region is having to adapt in order to catch up to more prosperous regions in the UK and remain competitive globally.

Like many regions around the OECD, the North of England is seeking to support economic development through innovation, with strategies that build on the region's heritage while also looking to develop new strengths. This report reviews how both national policy and regional strategies support innovation in the North and how these efforts could be improved. It will be of interest to policy makers, firms and others active in promoting innovation and regional economic development.

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Assessment and Recommendations

Regional innovation systems are important because: 1) strong dynamics of innovation generation in regions are crucial for achieving national innovation policy objectives; and 2) innovation performance can contribute to improving the overall economic competitiveness of individual regions by increasing the productivity of firms. As such, the goals of regional innovation policy are relevant to policy makers from both the regional development and science and technology fields. This policy relevance appears to be increasing, not only in federal or regionalised countries such as Germany and Italy, where innovation policy has a strong regional focus, but also in countries with a more centralised policymaking tradition such as France and Japan.

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