The Empirical and Institutional Dimensions of Smart Specialisation: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Empirical and Institutional Dimensions of Smart Specialisation

1st Edition

Edited by Philip McCann, Frank van Oort, John Goddard


212 pages | 33 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2016-11-29
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Smart specialisation is the new policy approach to the development of regional innovation systems across Europe and it involves fostering innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives which are well tailored to the local context. The different technologies, skills profiles, business activities, institutions and sectors which reflect a region’s economic strengths and potential are to be fostered and encouraged to diversify in ways which also exploit the region’s linkages with broader global value-chains.

Yet, the ideas contained in the smart specialisation agenda have until now been primarily conceptual in nature. The Empirical and Institutional Dimensions of Smart Specialisation draws together some of the leading regional economists and scientists in Europe to analyse how smart specialisation is working in practice. This book investigates different dimensions of the agenda as it is developing across parts of Europe from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives. The quantitative analysis examines the nature of the diversification processes undertaken by regions and the interplay between the chosen local regional development priorities and the wider global value-chain impacts of these choices. Meanwhile, the qualitative analysis examines the institutional opportunities and challenges facing policy makers and the key elements most likely to provide the underpinnings of a workable set of policy settings.

The book is aimed both at academic researchers interested in the interface between economic geography and regional innovation systems as well as at policy makers making public policy decisions related to regional development at the local, city, regional or national levels.


‘A timely and highly valuable addition to the discourse around smart specialisation and regional development’ — Louis Brennan, Professor in Business Studies, Business & Administrative Studies , Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Table of Contents

1 Introduction to the Empirical and Institutional Dimensions of Smart Specialisation

Philip McCann, Frank van Oort and John Goddard

2 The Intellectual and Practical Bases of the Application of RIS3 within EU Cohesion Policy

Philip McCann and Raquel Ortega-Argilés

3 Regional Diversification and Smart Specialization Policy

Ron Boschma

4 Local Industry Structure as a Resource-Base for Entrepreneurship: Implications for Smart Specialization Strategies

Martin Andersson and Sierdjan Koster

5 Regional Innovation and the Network Structure of University–Industry Links

Robert Huggins and Daniel Prokop

6 Good Growth, Bad Growth: A Wake-up Call of Smart Specialisation

Mark Thissen, Frank van Oort and Olga Ivanova

7 New Measures of Regional Competitiveness in a Globalizing World

Bart Los, Maureen Lankhuizen and Mark Thissen

8 The Co-Evolution of Regional Innovation Domains and Institutional Arrangements: Smart Specialisation Through Quadruple Helix Relations?

Paul Vallance

9 Smart Specialisation and Local Economic Development in Eastern Europe

Teodora Dogaru, Frank van Oort and Nicola Cortinovis

10 From Plan to Process: Exploring the Human Element in Smart Specialisation Governance

Mari Jose Aranguren, Mikel Navarro and James R. Wilson

11 Entrepreneurship, Networks and Recombinant Open Innovation: Lessons for Regional Policy

Robert Huggins

About the Editors

Philip McCann holds the University of Groningen Endowed Chair of Economic Geography at the University of Groningen and is also the Tagliaferri Research Fellow in the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge.

Frank van Oort is Professor of Urban and Regional Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam and at Utrecht University.

John Goddard is Emeritus Professor in the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) at Newcastle University.

About the Series

Regions and Cities

In today’s globalised, knowledge-driven and networked world, regions and cities have assumed heightened significance as the interconnected nodes of economic, social and cultural production, and as sites of new modes of economic governance and policy experimentation. This book series brings together incisive and critically engaged international and interdisciplinary research on this resurgence of regions and cities, and should be of interest to geographers, economists, sociologists, political scientists and cultural scholars, as well as to policy-makers involved in regional and urban development.

If you would like to discuss a potential new book for the series, please contact:

Joan Fitzgerald – – Series Editor-in-Chief, or

Natalie Tomlinson – – Routledge Commissioning Editor

For more information on the Regional Studies Association, visit


Did you know that as a Regional Studies Association member you’re entitled to a 30% discount on all Routledge books? To order, simply email Luke McNicholas (, or phone on +44 (0) 20 701 77545 and declare your RSA membership.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Business Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development