Central and regional government collaboration for research and innovation

The regions, including urban regions, are extremely important for the Netherlands’ economic and societal development. Regional hotspots incorporating companies, knowledge institutes and other research and innovation partners are key to the development of those regions. Regions are also the places where societal issues and challenges come together and are felt by residents and organisations alike.

Accordingly, there is a growing focus on finding solutions to societal challenges at regional level. Regions are undertaking all kinds of initiatives to boost economic development, stimulate research and innovation and address societal challenges. National government is also devoting increasing attention to the regions, not only transferring tasks to regional governments, but also seeking collaboration and partnering with them to invest in their regions. Separately, the European Commission has set up a number of programmes and agendas aimed at stimulating regional economic development.

The question then is how all these initiatives and schemes formulated at regional, national and European level can be brought together. AWTI suspects that bottlenecks are arising around the regional hotspots, because the different layers of policy can counteract or duplicate each other. Since the economic and societal challenges differ across different regions and are often context-specific, it would make sense to develop region-specific policy in different domains and at different levels (regional, national and European). However, the different layers of government each have their own, sometimes conflicting interests. Regional hotspots and societal challenges do not necessarily adhere to the territorial contours and boundaries of the formal public administration. Additionally, all kinds of other administrative bodies and partnerships are arising, sometimes extending across regional boundaries, which have no formal administrative responsibilities but which nonetheless develop initiatives and make investments aimed at finding solutions to societal challenges.

In the light of the foregoing, AWTI focuses in a new advisory report on the following question:

What is needed in the collaboration between different levels of government to ensure that European, national and regional policies on research and innovation reinforce rather than counteracting or duplicating each other?
AWTI seeks to obtain clarity on how the collaboration between different levels of government and other administrative bodies operates at different levels, and what is needed to reinforce or improve that collaboration. As well as a literature review and interviews with experts, we also carry out five case studies to examine how policy developed at different governance levels comes together in practice and what this means for the ‘target groups’ of that policy: public-private and public-public partnerships/consortia/hubs in the field of research and innovation.

Expected date of publication:

May 2021