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Review of methodologies used in the EU to evaluate regional innovative potential

In 1994 a team of experts from the EU completed a SPRINT-EIMS project involving a "horizontal" review of methodologies used in the EU to evaluate regional innovative potential and infrastructures. The conclusions of the review are about to be published by the Commission. The ...

In 1994 a team of experts from the EU completed a SPRINT-EIMS project involving a "horizontal" review of methodologies used in the EU to evaluate regional innovative potential and infrastructures. The conclusions of the review are about to be published by the Commission. The review analysed existing studies on the measurement and evaluation of regional technological innovation services and infrastructures, innovative networks and other aspects of the regional innovative potential. The following main trends were found: - Studies aim at problem solving rather than knowledge building; - The linear vision of innovation dominates regional innovation evaluations: traditional methodologies and indicators measure factor endowments rather than the dynamics of the system; - Process indicators are neither particularly robust nor reproducible; - An interactive approach implies a focus on qualitative data; - A failure to take into account the degree of openness of the regional system of innovation is highly common; - The content of evaluation studies depends on the orientation of related policy measures; - Regional data on innovative potential remains limited and of poor quality. These conclusions imply the need to move progressively towards a system methodology which takes into account interactions, both locally and externally, between the various components and factors of the innovation process. There is no single best-practice methodology in this respect. This would suggest that regional planners interested in gaining a better understanding of the innovation process in their region need to use an "eclectic" assortment of tools in order to evaluate the various dimensions of a "regional system of innovation". The range of possible methodologies, empirically tested in the EU, is presented in the synthetic report, which is available on request from the the Commission's Technical Assistance Unit (DG XIII) (see below).