10 - Regional frameworks

10.4 - Supporting regional development policies based on promoting Innovation and technology


Regional policies adopted by Public Administrations are of paramount importance to the economic development of business innovation and the success of Business-University collaboration. In this respect, it is essential to develop a clearly-defined strategy and devise all the processes required to implement it. The efficient management of public policies in this area is the most effective way of ensuring a regional economic development model which is based on Innovation, Science and Technology; in short, public support for business competitiveness.


Karlsruhe (Germany)

Karlsruhe is situated at the heart of Europe, close to the borders of France and Switzerland. The development policies implemented in the region have contributed to making it a leader in terms of economic and technological development, both in Europe and worldwide.

A successful regional development policy, such as that developed in Karlsruhe, should be based on the development of a creative and entrepreneurial culture and this obviously requires the implementation of measures and processes, both private and public, which are aimed at promoting and supporting it. Traditionally, Karlsruhe has always been an engine for innovation, as is clear from the following examples: in 1878, the two-stroke engine was invented there and seven years later the first vehicle to be designed by Benz. In 1886, Hertz discovered electromagnetic waves, and between 1984 and 2003, the Internet became the basis for the region’s technological development. The first email was sent to the US in 1984, and nine years later, 90 percent of all the domains in Germany were registered there.

These characteristics (entrepreneurship, innovation) are still very much alive in the area and there is an extremely wide range of specialised training centres and research institutions with a highly qualified workforce – including more than 25,000 students - and a comprehensive scientific support structure for business development. One of the most important aspects to the region’s success is that 1 in 10 jobs are linked to R&D. Evidence of this can be seen by the wide variety of the knowledge transfer centres associated with the KIT:

  • Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) Campus Süd-Nord.
  • Kontaktbüro nanoValley.eu.
  • Hochschule Karlsruhe – Technik und Wirtschaft.
  • Fraunhofer Institut für Optronik, Systemtechnik und Bildauswertung (IOSB).
  • Fraunhofer Institut ISI, (FhG-ISI) Karlsruhe.
  • Fraunhofer Institut ICT, (FhG-ICT).
  • Forschungszentrum Informatik (FZI).
  • Fachinformationszentrum (FIZ).
  • Design @ Workflow.

Its geographical location represents an opportunity, rather than a barrier, in terms of contributing to the consolidation of Karlsruhe as one of the most innovative regions in Europe. Indeed, the region’s exceptional network of high-quality infrastructures and transport have played a major role in its development as a knowledge generation centre, contributing to specialisation, both in the fields of education and research, and the proliferation of new business models.

Implementation process

Agents required for implementation

This recommendation should be implemented at a high level and is presented as an example of regional policy. That does not however mean that companies should play a lesser role in its implementation. They can seek assistance from Public Administrations and Universities and work together in order to create processes which are similar to those that have been established in Karlsruhe. This would make a significant contribution to the development of an efficient Innovation system in Andalusia.

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  1. Commercial knowledge transfers from universities to firms: improving the effectiveness of university–industry collaboration. Journal of High Technology Management Research 14 (2003) 111–133. Study based on the universities of Arizona and North Carolina..
  2. Global Knowledge Management at DANONE. Harvard Business School, 2008. Networking mentality.
  3. Institutionalizing sustainability innovation: Universities as a platform for stakeholder collaboration (University of Tokyo).
  4. http://www.stw.de/en/home.html?no_cache=1 - Steinbeis.