Go to main menu Go to search Go to main content Go to footer

Multi-level governance for innovation: key insights from online discussion

By Platform
Laptop and hands

On Friday 27 January 2023, our Platform organised an online discussion on multi-level innovation governance.

In this article you can read main insights shared in this event that brought together external speakers such as Miren Larrea (senior researcher, Orkestra, Basque Institute of Competitiveness) and people involved in Interreg Europe projects (BEYOND EDP, BRIDGES, CLUSTERIX2.0, CLUSTERFY, COHES3ION, IMPROVE, PASSPARTOOL, P-IRIS and HIGHER). 

About multi-level innovation governance

Regional innovation governance concerns all the processes of interactions among various actors that together determine the priorities, strategies, activities and outcomes in research and innovation at the regional level.

It implies the adoption of institutional arrangements to favour systemic interactions among different innovation actors within the region with, for instance, the triple-helix model of innovation or across policy hierarchies with improving policy coordination through multi-level governance.

Multi-level innovation governance can be defined as a complex process of collaboration between different government levels (supranational, national, regional, local) and/or innovation promotion agents in territorial (regional, local) innovation and economic development strategy development. The aim is to open up regional innovation strategies - such as the Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) - to other actors (in the production and knowledge systems) simultaneously at various scales. You can read more in this JRC report.

It is thus important to introduce methodologies and practices that foster collaboration and alignment between governance levels and territorial actors in the definition and development of S3 and other regional strategies to promote more effective multi-level governance. 

There are four main pillars when developing multi-level governance:

  1. complexity requires coordination (dealing with conflicts, prioritisation),
  2. emergence (learning through the process),
  3. context specificity (different regional experiences),
  4. and reciprocity (recognising each other level of governance).
Key insights from participants

This facilitation role must be based on trusted relationships for the well-being of the territorial innovation actors. The Basque Country highlighted the example of think tank approaches to build trust based on action-research. Participants also highlighted the importance for using trained and professional facilitators.

Regional innovation governance must strive to engage regional stakeholders and to have a great understanding of regional scientific and technological capacities while connecting the regional knowledge with multi-scalar knowledge and policy directionalities. It is important to find synergies and complementarities among and within municipalities. Promoting the use of an evidence-based approaches with data and open discussions can lead to the development of an effective multi-level governance that helps identify shared priorities. 

The degree to which civil society will be engaged in the policy process greatly depends on the regional institutional context and capacities to deal with community-engagement. Community-engagement is now acknowledged to be a successful tool creating the conditions for greater sustainability over time. 

Matchmaking icon

Check our policy helpdesk

Our Platform experts are here to guide you with whatever your policy challenge. Reach out today.