Title: How do research intensive systems emerge in less developed areas? The case of mechatronics in the Italian southern region Apulia

Authors: Stefano Clò; Massimo Florio; Julie Pellegrin; Emanuela Sirtori

Addresses: Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods, University of Milan, Conservatorio, 20122, Milan, Italy ' Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods, University of Milan, Conservatorio, 20122, Milan, Italy ' CSIL: Centre for Industrial Studies, Corso Monforte, 15, 20122 Milan, Italy ' CSIL: Centre for Industrial Studies, Corso Monforte, 15, 20122 Milan, Italy

Abstract: Regional innovation systems (RISs) are increasingly emerging in less developed areas. Based on the case study of the mechatronic cluster in the Italian southern region, Apulia, this paper analyses how institutions have managed to promote the establishment of a RIS in disadvantaged areas. Through a longitudinal analysis over more than half a century, the Apulian case study shows that the creation of this RIS in less developed areas is the result of a dynamic process characterised by a multi-level governance, initially promoted by the central government through a top-down logic, and then integrated by action of local actors through a bottom-up approach. A key role is played by the regionalisation of innovation policies and by the strategic action of regional public institutions to promote the interaction among enterprises and universities. Our analysis highlights that several ingredients should simultaneously occur for a regional innovation policy to be effective. Any regional innovation strategy significantly lacking one of these core pre-conditions and ingredients is risky. Policy-makers should carefully study the opportunities and challenges arising from local contexts before embarking in ambitious place-based innovation strategies.

Keywords: regional innovation system; RIS; technological cluster; less developed area; mechatronics; Italy; regionalisation of innovation policy; case study.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTLID.2018.091799

International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2018 Vol.10 No.1, pp.1 - 36

Received: 13 Jul 2017
Accepted: 03 Oct 2017

Published online: 07 May 2018 *

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