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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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Multi-level Governance of Catalonia's S&T&I policy

Catalonia’s S&T and innovation policies are embedded in a multi-level governance context. In this policy field, both EU and Spanish policy streams are significant. Catalonia must also co-ordinate across its different local governments. Local actors are increasingly making efforts to support innovation in terms of both soft and hard infrastructure. As discussed in Chapter 2, Catalonia has developed its own policies in part as a function of the objectives, policy content, resources and evaluations set by policy makers elsewhere. Given this mutual dependence, Catalonia needs opportunities to co-design, when possible, the policies originating at other levels of government. Secondly, it needs instruments to help effectively share and co-ordinate these S&T and innovation competencies. The governments of both Spain and Catalonia recognise that more co-ordination is needed to guarantee greater effectiveness in co-design and implementation in this policy field.

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