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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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The National Approach to Innovation in English Regions

The starting point for discussion of regional innovation in the UK can be from two angles: innovation as a component of regional policy, and innovation in regions as a component of national innovation policy. As discussed in the Introduction, there has been a general convergence of interest between these two policy domains in OECD countries, and the UK is no exception. In both cases, the issue is to what extent innovation can help achieve the principal objectives of these two policy streams. The supplementary question is to decide the role of the national and regional actors in a way that is efficient and provides relevant supports and services for firms, the main target of public policy in this field.

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