Due to numerous idiosyncratic features, a profound variety in the level of development and in the nature of regional innovation systems is often acknowledged. This paper has aimed to contribute to existing research by unraveling mutual relationships among knowledge bases, R&D structure and innovation performance of European regions. Our analysis showed that the differences among the European regions in their prevailing knowledge base and in the absolute and relative sizes of key segments of R&D systems are systematic and mutually interwoven. Generally, advanced regions are often typified by the lowest share of synthetic knowledge base and either by a dominance of the private R&D or by a relatively balanced structure between private and public R&D, while the opposite holds for lagging regions.
Blažek J. & Kadlec V. (2019) Knowledge bases, R&D structure and socio-economic and innovation performance of European regions. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 32(1), 26-47.
Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
The interview transcript
Hi, welcome to coffee break with researchers, today we’re in Florence at the Regional Innovation Policies Conference and I’m having a coffee break with Jiří Blažek, he’s an associate professor at Charles University in Prague. Thank you for joining me at this coffee break in a conference, how are you doing?
I’m fine, thank you very much for this kind invitation, thanks a lot.
We are very happy to have you here, I want to talk with you about a recent paper you wrote, in which you analyze the relationships among knowledge bases, R&D structure and innovation performance of European regions, could you please tell me what the paper was about?
Sure the name is the name of the paper is quite complicated but in fact the idea was quite straightforward I simply try to look what is the relationship between the basic two subsystems of innovation systems in the regions, which means knowledge generation, subsystem basically public research and knowledge exploitations of system, basically private research and I was actually puzzled on how this is related to the concept of knowledge bases.
Okay thank you for that, so I see that one of the key notion of your paper is the notion of differentiated knowledge bases, could you please tell me what this is about?
Actually the concept of knowledge bases was introduced by Björn Asheim and Meric Gertler and the basic idea is that the nature of innovation process differs substantially in different spheres for example in Natural Science, the innovation process is very much different from technology or from innovations in this field of Art and Design and so on, so this was behind this concept of differentiated knowledge bases, so actually these authors distinguish between synthetic knowledge basis, which is mostly technology analytical, which is mostly invention of science and symbolic knowledge basis, design, architecture and so on.
Thank you very much for clarifying that, and based on this notion, which one would you say is your main finding?
Actually, basically what was surprising for me, which I was not very much sure about before doing this research was that actually there is a big dominance in all regions in Europe of synthetic knowledge base and the basic difference between the well developed or most developed original innovation system and less developed original innovation systems is that in most developed innovation systems there is also very strong role of analytical and symbolic knowledge base in addition to synthetic while in less developed regions the role of analytical and symbolic knowledge base is relatively weaker and this is not only related to the economic structure of the regions, but also to the ambitions the companies are having because if the companies are competing on the state-of-the-art on the technology frontier then they need to understand all sort of physical nature of the phenomena which they are practically using in their technology in their production, so actually it’s not only economic structure but also kind of ambitions or take whether the companies are competing on high road based or moving them trying to move the technology frontier or just basically our followers and they are oriented on a relatively standard production of traditional goods and so on.
Okay but I also see that there was another important finding related to the
internal structure of R&D in European regions right, could you please elaborate on that?
Yes actually which reclassified the region to match two regions and there are two hundred and seventy five NUTS 2 regions in Europe for which we gain the data and we classify them in line with the regional innovation scoreboard and this regional innovation scoreboard distinguishes the regions in four categories according to innovation performance, as innovation leaders, strong innovators, moderate innovators and modest innovators, and there was a very neat structure basically the innovation leaders and strong innovators had either balanced size of both these subsystems public and private or even dominance of the private R&D private research and development and the opposite was true for less developed regions modest or moderate innovators there was typical dominance of public research.
That is very interesting, thank you and what about your personal motivation in writing this paper?
Sure I was always puzzled when reading the literature on regional innovation system that there is very little information about the variation in size of these two basic subsystems of original innovation system because I saw no obvious mechanism, which might guarantee some kind of balanced development between the two so I somehow expected there should be a big variation, not only an absolute, but also in a relative size of these two subsystems, so therefore I look at the empirical data.
That’s very nice and which ones would you say are the main policy implications of the research?
Basically a main implications in terms of regional development in in my view are the following basically the difference in economic structure and R&D structure among the regions are of such a scale that I would say that it indicated that different regions are integrated into global economy in very different modes and the differences are of such a scale that actually these differences imply a long term implications for evolutionary trajectories for the future and in terms of practical policy implications would say that my research or our research because it was done with my PhD student is that actually we are fully supporting what Professor Kevin Morgan said already 20 years ago that one sided stress on science technology innovation paradigm is actually is outdated in a way it’s unrealistic and one sided support of public R&D in lagging regions might be actually misleading because it is the innovation the amount of companies, which actually is the decisive driver of competitiveness.
That’s indeed very interesting and truly fascinating for your research, so thank you very much again for having this nice chat with me and it was a pleasure to have you here in a coffee break and I hope to see you next time.
Thanks a lot indeed, thanks for having me here, thanks a lot.
Thank you for watching if you are interested in more details about these academic publication fine here the link below and see you next time bye bye.Tags: innovation performance, knowledge bases, NUTS 2, research and development