The 18th edition of the Regional Innovation Policies Conference 2024 will be held 25 – 27 September at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences in Lillehammer, Norway.

The Regional Innovation Policies Conference is recognized as one of the most important conferences in the fields of regional innovation, regional development, and innovation policy, and represents a renowned and authoritative arena for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners.

The political dimension

The title of the 18th edition of the Regional Innovation Policies Conference 2024 is “The political dimension of regional development: theoretical, conceptual and empirical advancements”.

Some regions grow more than others, while it is similarly well known how some places benefit greatly from innovation and others keep on struggling. The uneven benefits deriving from innovation is a phenomenon which seems to become even more acute in times of polycrisis (e.g., COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, cost of energy, climate crises). This clearly entails a political dimension of national and regional innovation systems in which different actors interact, but also compete at different geographical scales by relying on diverse and unequal preconditions and means.

Policy-making and decision-making processes are largely contested matters, while agency and some key agents may enable or hinder possible regional futures. The fact that innovation and technological development are concentrated in a very few places significantly contributes to regional disparities. This latter phenomenon has been observed in an increasing number of countries and macro-regional areas and could provide fertile ground for populism and non-democratic tendencies in places which are characterized by weak growth and dark prospects. For all of these reasons, embedding systematically politics and power relations in regional development studies seem to be more necessary and urgent than ever.

    Find the conference program here