'Knowledge-based economy' promotes EU regional development

Written by Evi Sachini on 18 June 2014 in Feature

Wire 2014 aims to build upon previous conferences and provide a 'stimulating and fruitful forum' for regional innovation, says Evi Sachini.

This summer in Athens, the regional dimension of innovation is coming into focus. Athens hosts the 'week of innovative regions in Europe 2014' (Wire) which is organised by the national documentation centre of Greece (EKT) and the European commission, in collaboration with the general secretariat for research and technology, under the auspices of Greece's EU council presidency. Following the success of previous conferences, Wire 2014 will bring together leading agents in the field of policymaking and business to share knowledge, experience and enlightening discussions on the key priorities for research and innovation policies in the new programming period.

The launch of the Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation, and the new EU cohesion policy for 2014-2020 are timed excellently for this year's Wire. The 2014 edition of Wire takes place as the EU adopts a new perspective on regional policy for research and innovation, one which relies on smart specialisation strategies to eliminate innovation disparities in Europe and promotes cooperation and synergies that will lead to a new research and development landscape. The novel approach to innovation policy in European regions requires the direct involvement of regional authorities and innovation players in the policy design process and the adaptation of strategies to local contexts, thus it is highly dependent on the capacity of regional institutions to coordinate and facilitate interventions and to strengthen regional research capacities.

"The novel approach to innovation policy in European regions requires the direct involvement of regional authorities and innovation players in the policy design process and the adaptation of strategies to local contexts"

In this context, key actors, such as EKT, are placed at the very heart of the strategy design and implementation process. EKT has a long tradition of excellence in supporting research, education and business communities, and a mission to enable access to knowledge and facilitate research, development and innovation. As a strategic partner and essential building block of the European research area, EKT undertakes activities and projects that contribute to the production, transfer and diffusion of knowledge and experience between regions.

The production of science indicators and metrics contributes to the formation of evidence-based policies and seeks to provide the adequate incentives for the development of effective collaborations among all stakeholders in the innovation value chain. In this phase, EKT highlights a growing need for coordinated strategies to produce and exploit knowledge based capital so that Europe can address the economic turndown, especially in the countries of southern Europe and can exploit the opportunities for growth and innovation that effective management of open knowledge create.
During the two day conference in Athens, regional authorities are invited to share their experience and best practices in research and innovation strategies' utilisation of EU funds and discuss how to build and implement successful regional innovation strategies and synergies. The conference will highlight the role of a knowledge-based economy in promoting regional development and the role of science and technology indicators and metrics in designing, planning and measuring evidence-based regional policies. It is also expected to produce recommendations, feedback and proposals on the interaction of different instruments for addressing the widening innovation divide among European regions, as well as guidelines on open innovation and knowledge diffusion for efficient regional policies.

Wire 2014 will build on the outcomes of previous conferences to provide a stimulating and fruitful forum for the investigation of the dynamics of regional performance that allows some regions to grow more rapidly than others, and will also provide a starting point for the exploration of the new role of regions in reshaping innovation.

About the author

Evi Sachini is director of Greece's national documentation centre

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