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Regions and Innovation

Collaborating across Borders

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This report examines cross-border collaboration on innovation, building on case studies of cross-border areas that include the following countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom and Ireland.

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Governing cross-border collaboration

Finding the right governance arrangements for collaboration is perhaps the most complex task for cross-border innovation policy. An overarching vision for collaboration is a useful place to start. The local and regional levels on each side of the border can identify the costs, benefits and opportunities before pointing out to national or other levels of government how they are helping or hindering cross-border efforts. While the innovation policy field offers a strong potential to create value, the high degree of uncertainty also renders the assessment of costs and benefits, as well as the urgency for action, more difficult. Innovation-driven economic development is a field where jurisdictions are also competing, but the real competition is not with the neighbour, it is on a global scale, implying potential for “co-optition” (co-operation for competition). Cross-border areas need to rely on both formal or informal governance arrangements, or both, but in all cases trust is essential and takes time. And since governance goes beyond government, wider stakeholder involvement beyond the public sector is necessary for sustainability.

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