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Regional Trajectories to the Knowledge Economy: A Dynamic Model / EURODITE

Aims and tasks

The significance of knowledge for economic activity has grown exponentially since the 1980s. However, there is as yet little understanding of the nature and composition of the knowledge economy, especially at a regional level. The EURODITE project will address this deficiency by examining the dynamics of knowledge in the economies of European regions to inform policies seeking to promote the transition of Europe to-wards a knowledge-based society. What are the different trajectories towards the know-ledge economy? Through what generative and communication pathways does know-ledge flow into and within regional economies? An analytical framework will be develo-ped enabling policy-makers to measure the intensity of regional knowledge use, and to identify appropriate practices for different regions given their respective economic base and level of knowledge development. Complementary activities are designed to ensure a high level of communication and take up and validation of the project outputs.

Research Strategy

The overall goal of the EURODITE project is to understand the role of knowledge in the economies of European regions in order to inform policies in these regions towards a knowledge- based economy with enhanced social cohesion. The intention is to probe beneath the popular notion of the 'Knowledge Economy' by describing the diversity of learning processes, knowledge dynamics and knowledge trajectories across Europe. It is also intended to examine the assumption that regions and other spatial arrangements (such as 'clusters' or 'milieu') represent coherent units of explanation and intervention in the knowledge field. Operational Objectives are as follows:

  • To assess the current state of knowledge (stocks and flows) in European regional economies, and to identify key trends within these and other aggregates (e.g. sectors, networks and markets, governance systems, education and science, social groups).
  • To produce a model of 'economic knowledge micro-dynamics' – of the interaction over time of knowledge stocks and flows amongst networks of firms and others, starting in selected sectors and regions of Europe, and observing how these interactions extend organisationally and spatially.
  • To develop methodologies and to calibrate macro-level indicators as a diagnostic tool for policy-makers, for the measurement of regional knowledge stocks and flows.
  • To evaluate the contribution of these knowledge micro-dynamics to macro-level regional economic and social trajectories – to their performance in productivity growth and competitiveness as well as gender equality and social cohesion.
  • To identify the conditions that have created the observed knowledge dynamics – including positive and negative path dependence – in different sectors and regions across Europe.
  • To identify the policy levers and coordinational activities available to the EU and other levels of governance to enhance knowledge dynamics and their contribution to regional development and competitiveness, economic and social cohesion.