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Cross-Border Regional Innovation System Integration

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Groundbreaking study for fostering EU cross-border integration and innovation cooperation

An EU initiative has shed light on cross-border regional collaboration in terms of how proximity and integration of cross-border regional innovation systems (CBRISs) affect knowledge transfer mechanisms and innovation.

Industrial Technologies
Fundamental Research

The EU-funded CRISI (Cross-border regional innovation system integration) project compared the effects of different types of proximity on CBRIS knowledge transfer and innovativeness, and developed a methodology to measure CBRIS integration levels. It also evaluated the success of cross-border cooperation projects in facilitating cross-border knowledge flows and innovation in tourism. Work began with three literature reviews that fed into several key policy recommendations to facilitate CBRIS integration. The research underlined the importance of border regions as a distinct and significant field of regional studies, and the significance of border region studies for the sustainable socioeconomic development of such areas. Project partners developed a framework to empirically validate the concept of CBRISs and to measure their integration processes. This should help cross-border regions to better understand their paths for developing common CBRISs. The CRISI team advanced the notion of cross-border cooperation through two empirical studies with secondary data sources. Results show that joining the EU has had a significant positive impact on the volume of cross-border co-publishing between the established 15 Member States and newer ones. The same applies to the cross-border publication intensity between new Member States. Researchers proposed and demonstrated the feasibility of several metrics to collect and analyse primary firm-level data, and methods to illustrate cross-border cooperation networks. They also studied the success factors of cross-border collaboration projects in tourism funded by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. Findings provide lessons learned for practitioners and policymakers to consider when planning and executing cross-border projects. CRISI is the first substantial empirical study of the theoretical underpinnings of CBRISs, their integration and knowledge transfer levels, and joint innovation in cross-border cooperation initiatives. This bodes well for the long-term success of cross-border regions that depend on collective efforts to further integrate on a transregional level in order to develop common innovation systems.


Cross-border integration, innovation, cross-border regional innovation systems, knowledge transfer, CRISI

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