Cross-Border Regional Innovation Policy

The Nordic Council of Ministers' (NCM) Committee of Senior Officials for Regional Policy have worked with cross-border cooperation since the 1970s. Cross-border innovation policy is of growing interest to the Nordic border committees. It is an area that some are actively engaged in. The question of cross-border innovation policy was studied in a recent OECD project, which this issue of Nordregio News takes as its point of departure.

Nordregio took part in the OECD Regions and Innovation: Collaborating across Borders? project that took place from September 2012 to December 2013. The NCM co-financed project participation for the Nordic border committees of TRUST Hedmark-Dalarna and Bothnian Arc. Through this, Nordregio became involved in the project. Nordregio's main task were to support the OECD team and representatives of these cross-border regions in the preparation of regional background reports and in arranging peer review seminars and study visits in the regions. The OECD launched the project with a total of six border-regions: Ireland-Northern Ireland (UK); Top Technology ELAt (Netherlands-Belgium-Germany); Öresund (Sweden-Denmark); the Bothnian Arc (Sweden-Finland); Hedmark-Dalarna (Norway-Sweden) and Helsinki-Tallinn (Finland-Estonia).

The first article, Why Consider Cross-Border Policies to Support Regional Innovation?, by Karen Maguire, Policy Advisor at the OECD, introduces the project's background and the potential benefits of developing cross-border innovation policy. The article presents some of the key conclusions and recommendations of the project, including the governance issues of how public and private actors can cooperate across borders, and related to this, what types of policy instruments can facilitate cross-border innovation.

This is followed with Boosting Innovation in a Cross-Border Mountain Area to Develop Tourism by Monika Jönsson, Regional Advisor at Region Dalarna in Sweden, which takes a closer look at the Hedmark-Dalarna case study region. In this border region, the OECD identified the main opportunity for cross-border cooperation on innovation as the development of a common tourism destination in the border area (comprising four municipalities). The article describes the The Mountain Package project , which involves a multi-level governance process to strengthen collaboration on the common tourism destination that crosses the border.

The final article, Nordic Cross-Border Innovation Policy, by myself and Maria Lindqvist, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio until September 2013, adopts a Nordic perspective on some of the issues for cross-border innovation policy that were highlighted in the OECD project. In connection with this, the roles of the Nordic border committees, on which Nordic cross-border cooperation is organised, are discussed.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Nordregio News!

Lise Smed Olsen

Research Fellow

and the Editorial Board

Back to Nordregio News Issue 5, 2013