Guide to Knowledge Exchange for Policy Makers (Learning Output A)

Within the Lisbon Agenda and the following Europe 2020 Agenda, innovation emerged as one of the drivers of European Union’s economic growth. This is a reflection of the robust economic performance of innovative regions: the prevalent majority of most innovative regions are also competitiveness and employment regions. Whilst innovation appears to be linked with strong performance, there is profound disparity in the incidence of innovation withinEurope.

Within this context, European policy makers aspire to create better framework conditions for innovation in large & smaller enterprises. In supporting innovation some regional and local authorities have access to strong knowledge endowments (the term is used to capture both physical and human capital). This is particularly the case in large cities with two or more multi-department universities, and sizeable student populations. Mobilising existing knowledge endowments in university city-regions aim to achieve the advancement of innovation, and by implication economic performance.

Realising the potential impact of greater use of university knowledge endowments at the regional level, across the European Union, is at the heart of INNOPOLIS. This overarching aim exists within a context of varied effectiveness of regional policy in stimulating knowledge exchange and co-creation. More specifically, some university city-regions have been particularly successful in exploiting the knowledge endowments of their universities (for example Helsinki and Manchester), whilst others have not (for example Thessaloniki and Lodz).

In order to analyse the successful knowledge exchange practices existing in university city-regions significant research effort was made to identify and describe more than 140 practices in four regions: Manchester, Helsinki, Lodz and Central Macedonia[1]. In identification of the cases of successful knowledge exchange between universities and enterprises in university city-regions a holistic approach was adopted and included the cases of successful knowledge exchange in research and development activities, through university spin-offs and spin-outs, through student led innovation and others.

Despite strong academic capacity, four regions taking part in the analysis differ significantly in the level of innovative activity as well as composition of innovative environment. To understand context of knowledge exchange which influence the possibility of their transfer regions policy makers need to take account of important features of the regions related to among others: R&D intensity, patent activity, cooperation culture etc. Moreover the nature of knowledge exchange itself differs, and in this document was analysed along the features like eg.: the nature of contracts, strategic significance to the actors, scope of cooperation and risks involved.

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