Published Projects

Archipelago Europe I: Islands of Innovation, A transatlantic comparison of the regionalisation of innovation, funded by the Commission of the European Communities

The study ARCHIPELAGO Europe asks, as a first step, the question: Where are the laboratories end entrepriseses located, which are involved in research and development project and, with whom do they work?The answer is: On a few "Islands of Innovation" -  relatively small, mostly urban, local areas - where we find a high concentration of entreprises and research laboratories which cooperate among themselvesin view to developing new products or new production processes.

The "islands" phenomen is the rulein all studied techno-scientific fields (biotechnology, artificial intellicenge, aeronautic/space and textile) and in all countries (the EEC, Sweden and the U.S.).

It is not only the local concentration in "islands" that is remarkable. It is the limited number of national "islands" and their high specialization within specific scientific sub-fields (e.g. "medical electronics" and "professionel electronics" within the field of Electronics in Ile de France or "genetechnology" within the field of Biotechnology in Heidelberg/Ludwigshafen).

Up to 3/4 of public research funding (Community, National and regional funding) are concentrated in these relative few "islands of innovation".

In the case of biotechnology in Germany the study identifies eight "islands" each covering more than 5% of public R&D expenditure in the country (such as Rhein-Ruhr, München, Braunschweig/Göttingen) and which together account for between 63.5% (for biopress tech.) and 80.2% (gentech, microbio.) of public expenditure (1982-1991).

The "European Archipelago" of a few "islands of innovation" work intensively together in a highly exclusive web of cooperation links. The geographical concentration of cooperation on these "islands" is, according to the study, in general higher than 90%. Very little cooperation opportunity exists for "outsiders" : i.e. regions without islands.

Archipelago Europe II: The Role of Europe's Innovative Centre for Community Cohesion, funded by the Commission of the European Communities

Networking Regionalised Innovative Labour Markets, Ulrich Hilpert & Helen Lawton Smith (Ed.) , Routledge London, 2012

 A map which shows where innovation is clustered worldwide is also a map of the location of the highly skilled and talented labour. New technologies, their creative applications or synergy across different areas of scientific research or technology development always create opportunities for the employment of particularly creative labour. This book explores the kinds of institutions and structures which need to exist to make sure that such skills are both offered and employed in particular 'islands of innovation'.

Networking Regionalised Innovative Labour Markets illustrates the theme of how existing concentrations of skills in scientific, technological and managerial elites are reinforced through inter-regional mobility using exemplars from a range of countries and regions. These include the US, UK, Italy, Germany, and Central and Eastern Europe.

The book's originality lies in its in-depth assessments of the factors associated with the extent to which some regions hold their positions in networked islands of innovation. It is shown that those islands of innovation that attract highly skilled workers from abroad, particularly those from foreign islands of innovation, perform better for example in the US, Italy and the UK. In contrast, even the most innovative Czech regions tend to lose the highly skilled workers vis-à-vis the most innovative regions of the world, mainly to regions in the USA.

Europe's Changing Geography: The Impact of Inter-Regional Networks, Nicola Bellini & Ulrich Hilpert (Ed.), Routledge London, 2013

European macro-regions, Euroregions and other forms of inter-regional, cross-border cooperation have helped to shape new scenarios and new relational spaces which may generate opportunities for economic development, while redefining the political and economic meaning of national borders. This book is based on a number of key case studies which are crucial to understanding the complex web of political, economic and cultural factors that shape the heterogeneous picture of Europe's new geography. This book provides a fresh view on this phenomenon, with a realistic approach shedding light on its complexity as well as on its ambiguities.

The new macro-regions are interpreted with an approach recognizing the importance of institutionalization, but also their flexible configuration and "blurred" borders. The book also raises the issue of credibility and legitimacy, arguing that inter-regional cooperation has to be removed from the foggy realm of the exchanges between local political and bureaucratic elites in order to be clearly and concretely motivated, and functional to key strategic objectives of the regions. Finally, the authors suggest a complementarity between relations based on proximity and wider (possibly global) networks where some territories, and especially metropolises, find opportunities based on "virtual" proximity. Europe's Changing Geography provides a substantial re-appraisal of a key phenomenon in the process of European integration today. It will be of interest both to scholars of the political economy of European regionalism and to practitioners.