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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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Introduction

Catalonia, like many other places in the OECD, has embarked on a development path that emphasises innovation. Globalisation and rapid advances in new technologies, notably ICT, have spurred competition and opened new markets for the creation and delivery of innovative products and services. Globalisation has also increased the pressure on OECD member countries to move up the value chain and engage in a continuous process of adjustment. By strengthening innovation, countries, regions, cities and firms can become more competitive, and better prepared to face the challenges of globalisation. Innovation, a process that is generally managed by private firms, has become a concern for policy makers at all levels, from supranational to local actors.

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