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OECD Reviews of Regional Innovation: Catalonia, Spain 2010

image of OECD Reviews of Regional Innovation: Catalonia, Spain 2010

This review of regional innovation assesses how to improve Catalonia's current strategy and actions in order to boost its innovation system through both its own programmes and those of Spain and the European Union.

It finds that with over seven million inhabitants and a GDP of around EUR 204 billion, Catalonia is not only an important region within Spain, but within the OECD as well. Indeed, its economic output is similar to countries like Portugal and Norway. The region experienced massive population growth over the past decade, due to immigration, which in part drove GDP growth. However, Catalonia’s productivity is slipping, relative to other OECD regions, necessitating the transition to a productivity-driven growth model through a stronger regional innovation system. The region has successfully strengthened its research base, with investments in R&D having increased four-fold over the past decade. Catalonia is now mobilising actors across the innovation system in regional centres, such as Barcelona, to improve productivity and address social challenges.  

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Catalonia's S&T and Innovation Policies

Since the first autonomous elections of 1980, Catalonia’s government has recognised the importance of investing in R&D and innovation for the economic growth, industrial diversification and social welfare of the region. Yet the development of a comprehensive innovation system has experienced vicissitudes and been slow to emerge. Over the last three decades, Catalan approaches to S&T and innovation policies have evolved under the influence of several factors whose interdependence may continue to orient these policies and the innovation performance of the region in the future:

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