Our main topic will be Regional Development towards 2050
The subtopics will be:
Regional development has become more complex and efficient in the last thirty years. Governance and decision-making systems are more advanced, multiple actors have a significant role in the regional development agenda and must be taken into account to facilitate the mobilisation of all the resources of a given territory. Sustainable smart specialisation strategies (S4) provide an appropriate framework for regional development planning. It is needed to readapt territorial governance to better involve all regional actors, with a special focus on civil society engagement, and to monitor daily the effectiveness of development policies to continuously adapt them to the context and its opportunities.
Nowadays, the economic development of most of the European regions is linked to digitalisation and sustainable growth. Looking back over time, economic growth objectives have become more nuanced over the years. Nominal GDP growth has been complemented by social development and sustainability. The territories with the highest rate of development are those that have paid particular attention to the redistribution of wealth and the inclusion of all social groups. By prioritising investment in certain disadvantaged segments of the population, it is possible to make the most of all the actors in a territory. Many of the regions have opted for the complete development of their territory, including rural areas. It has been shown that a prioritised development policy is more effective than horizontal policies; those targeted development policies are positive and favour territorial cohesion.
Better instruments for regional development
Development agencies have used funding as the traditional mechanism of intervention. At the creation of EURADA thirty years ago, the focus was on mobilising funds, by lowering the interest rate or minimising the risk, so that the entrepreneur could invest more easily and mobilise productivity to create lasting and quality employment.
Over the years, it has been shown that innovation and internationalization are key to guaranteeing business growth. Development agencies have also adopted an ecosystem approach to their territories, favouring the establishment of external investors, the creation of companies (FabLabs, incubators and accelerators), the establishment of entities that provide advanced services to companies (technology centers), the systemic cooperation between the company and knowledge-generating centers (universities and research centers), the creation of science and technology parks, cooperation through clusters, etc.
Nowadays the challenge is to connect these ecosystems in a systematic way, to exploit the creation of complementary actions. The most developed European territories are those that have many active agents inserted in global value chains, which facilitate cooperation with other companies from other regions. The internationalization of ecosystems is a priority in the most advanced development agencies in Europe.
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