Many S&T policies at European, national and local level have been shaped by a top-down approach which has been recently challenged by the localized technological knowledge model, which stresses on the role of context-dependent knowledge and communication flows among agents, expecially within highly innovative clustered SMEs This theoretical and policy confrontation of alternative frameworks has been recently given a new content by the increased role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Science & Technology Policy, both in topdown processes of creation of knowledge and in networking and percolation processes of localized technological knowledge in clustered SMEs.
The existence of precise theoretical as well as policy gaps to be filled leads to the main objectives of this project, that include:
a) to better understand the dynamics of knowledge creation and competence in firms and industrial and technological districts;
b) to provide analytical tools for cooperation among co-localized firms within industrial and technological districs;
c) to assess the dynamics of industrial districts in terms of productivity, growth and employment;
d) to produce scientific advancements in the study of the effects of Telecommunications-based Networks (TBNs) on the innovative processes within the innovation network and on their role in the
establishement of "pro-growth coalitions" among institutional, academic and commercial actors;
e) to assess the achievements of the various initiatives of the European Union in order to develop the localized innovative processes at district level;
g) to provide effective tools, in order to develop a more integrated European approach to local development policymaking.
The ultimate goal of this project is to show the degrees of complementariety between top-down and localized technological knowledge approaches to policymaking, indicating the forms of networking of innovative clustered SMEs, with special reference to the role and limits of ICT in the process of creation of knowledge.
The objectives of the project will be achieved through three different phases with brainstorming sessions expressely designed in order to develop the methodology for the following stages and to self-assess the coherence of the partial results to the objectives of the project:
1. Scientific Analysis: this first phase covers the first year of the research and provides economic as well as quantitative analyses, which integrate, (and provides the methodology), for qualitative fieldwork casestudies. The partnership will be enabled to create the necessary framework for policy and the first results will be diffused by means of technical seminars.
2. Policy Analysis: the achievements of the first phase, in terms of economic, industrial demography and statistical analysis, as well as comparative fieldwork case-studies, will be used by the partners involved in the analysis of tools and issues for policymaking. A feedback from the end-users of the policies is provided, in order to self-assess the results of the First Phase.
3. Policy Reccomendations: the third phase will be centred on the implications for local as well as EU S&T policy (and ICT policy as well) and to a further consolidation of the diffusion of interim and final results.
Special roles and functions are given to the Advisory Group, which consists of end-users (Innovation Relay Centres, Science & Technology Parks, Associations of and single SMEs, regional and EU policymakers). This precise need arises from the contiguity of the policy objectives of the project to the establishment of local and trans-European "pro-growth" coalitions for highly innovative clustered SMEs.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
6200 MD Maastricht
M15 6PB Manchester