5. Regional Dimensions of Triple Helix? Clusters, Cities and Geographic Boundaries

Track conveners – Mike Danson, Heriot-Watt University, M.Danson@hw.ac.uk,
Chris Kerry, Heriot-Watt University, UK, c.kerry@hw.ac.uk
and Emanuela Todeva, Research Centre for Business Clusters, Networks and Economic Development (BCNED) e.todeva@bcned.co.uk.

This Track builds on a previous THA session, subsequent workshop and journal special issue, on regional economic development and innovation within the concept of the Triple Helix. This Call for Papers seeks to develop further this exploration of the ideas, policies and institutions where there are interactions between regional development and growth and the triple helix model for university-industry-government interactions. In particular, papers are encouraged which consider the definition of city-regions and regions appropriate for the delivery of triple helix activities and policies at the sub-national level, and how interactions between such concepts as clusters, innovation systems and triple helix regions inform these definitions and consequent analyses.

From the introduction of National Innovation Systems (NIS) (OECD, 1999), there has been growing appreciation of the role for government intervention in building innovative culture, enhancing technology diffusion, promoting networking and clustering, leveraging research and development across sectors, responding to globalisation, attracting foreign direct investment, and learning from best practices (OECD, 1999). Both the growth of regionalism in Europe and European Structural Funds have facilitated incentives for special government interventions in supporting regional and industrial cluster growth (Lagendijk and Charles, 1999). These developments have transformed regional governments into strategy developers and facilitators, with broad economic powers over promoting inward investment, building the skills base, fostering local involvement in supply chains, etc.

The new roles for regional authorities as implementers, building stakeholder coalitions to deliver the policy outcomes (Danson et al., 1999) reflect many of the characteristics of the triple helix model but, while hitherto this has been conceptualised in terms of the national level, in practice implementation at the regional level raises questions over the application of the triple helix model at different scales. Included in the leading spatial initiatives have been technology parks, research centres and incubators where regional stakeholders co-align to pool the necessary resources and to demonstrate impact. These regional triple helix dynamics often were attributed to activities by the regional universities, regional development agencies and industry and business within the area. This all demands that further research is undertaken and reported on the institutions, forms and successes of innovative regions, considering whether ‘consolidation’ of innovation capacity in regions requires self-reinforcing dynamics across the triple helix, creating a sustainable model of stakeholder engagement and gaining or retaining competitiveness on a broader scale. Papers are welcome on spatial aspects of the Triple Helix at sub-national levels.