51 research outputs found

    Old wine in new bottles?:smart specialisation in Wales

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    This paper explores the translation and implementation of Smart Specialisation in Wales. It finds that rather than taking a new approach to innovation policy, Welsh policy-makers are following a largely cluster-based rationale, which omits the important entrepreneurial discovery process to identify the real strengths of the region. The fresh idea presented by this paper is that a replication of past policy approaches that have been tried and found wanting is taking place rather than a new approach to innovation policy across Europe

    Problematising the "Regional System of Innovation" approach:lessons from a weaker region

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    This paper draws together two bodies of literature (regional geography and innovation studies) in order to fundamentally question our conceptualisation of innovation and economic development at the regional level. First, it justifies why the regional level of analysis is useful and appropriate, and then problematises the Regional Innovation System (RIS) both as an analytical framework and a best-practice tool for policymakers. This paper will argue that the RIS approach is no longer suitable for territories such as Wales, which correspond to neither our traditional understandings of a region nor of a nation. It argues that the contested nature of “the region” and the problems in its definition and recognition undermine the validity of the RIS approach. The connotations of the term “region” render it untenable as a tool for policymakers in contested territories. It may seen contradictory to firstly defend and justify a regional approach only to tear it apart and fundamentally question its relevance but the premise of this paper is that the regional approach to understanding innovation and economic development is the best framework we have for improving the fates of the poorest parts of Europe, but in order for policymakers to implement and appreciate the RIS framework some serious strengthening and re-packaging of the concept is required. The academic study of innovation should not be conducted in a vacuum, isolated from the political contexts and sensitivities within which innovation policy is practiced and implemented

    Regional innovation policy and economic development: the case of Wales

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    This thesis presents a case study of Welsh innovation policy from the period of political devolution (1999) to the present day (2014), exploring the role of regional government as a driver of innovation and economic development. It proposes a multi-theoretical framework to be employed in the study of real world innovation interventions, to illicit nuanced insights into the Wales case study, and also to test the applicability of key regional innovation theories in a weaker region context. The four regional innovation theories identified as the most prominent in both academic literature and policy, and incorporated into the conceptual framework of this study are: systems of innovation, clusters, the learning region, and the triple helix. The case study presented consists of a systematic review of Welsh innovation and related policy since devolution and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in the Welsh innovation system. The Welsh approach to innovation is found to have evolved in three distinct phases, whereby innovation is prioritised differently relative to other policy spheres, and the dominant approach to innovation varies over time. Innovation interventions have met with varying levels of success, and, interestingly, the most prominent approaches have been, on the whole, less successful in Wales. This thesis argues that no one theory is ideally suited to the analysis and development of innovation policy in weaker regions; instead it draws on the strengths of the four key theories identified. It argues against a “one-size-fits-all” approach to innovation policy, premised on exporting models from exceptional leading regions in a manner that is geographically, historically, and culturally blind. It supports a move away from normative approaches to the study and practice of innovation policy, instead drawing on the different theoretical elements that are particularly relevant to the case in question

    From ‘Techniums’ to ‘emptiums’: the failure of a flagship innovation policy in Wales

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    This paper examines the use of European Union Structural Funds to support the development of innovation policy within Wales during the period 2000–06. Drawing on data from the Welsh government and interviews with key stakeholders, it focuses specifically on the Technium programme, a high-profile technology-based innovation intervention that took a predominantly supply-side approach to supporting innovation, resulting in its eventual failure. Consistent within this is an analysis of the efficacy of supply-side policies using European Union funds to support research and development activities to aid economic growth in peripheral, weaker regions

    The ManVan:a mobile cancer support service for men with prostate, testicular and penile cancer in Wales

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    The ManVan commenced service delivery on 1st April 2014 and is the United Kingdom’s first dedicated mobile support service for men affected by prostate, testicular, and penile cancer. It is delivered in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK and Movember and fully funded by the Movember Foundation. It brings nursing care, counselling for individuals and couples, group support and welfare rights advice, directly to men living with prostate, testicular and penile cancer in communities across Wales. The ManVan has travelled extensively across Wales during its first year, visiting 94 different locations, across all seven Local Health Board areas. The first half of the year began with a Roadshow where we welcomed thousands of visitors on board, including men and women worried by all sorts of cancer symptoms; their family and friends; health and social care professionals and politicians. The variety of venues the ManVan has visited has included hospitals, supermarkets, social clubs, caravan fairs and rugby grounds to help raise awareness of the ManVan service and identify potential clients. As expected the greatest proportion of visitors are male, particularly older men. In the second half of the year, we focussed on our target audience – men diagnosed with prostate, testicular, or penile cancer and their families. Using a targeted approach to urology clinics across NHS Wales, as well as community-based activity encouraging men from ethnic minorities to visit, we have now taken on 161 clients, many of whom have received more than one ManVan service, and attended on more than one occasion. Most of our clients have prostate cancer, are over the age of 55 years, and are married. Analysis of the early data around the clinical and psychosocial benefits of the services offered on the ManVan is positive and the annualised value of the benefits obtained for ManVan clients equates to more than £300,000 in this first year. There were 3,319 visitors to the ManVan in total during the first year

    INTRODUCTION: Importance of methodological diversity for innovation system studies

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    free access article Introduction to Special Issue on Importance of methodological diversity for innovation system studie

    Developing Local Entrepreneurial Ecosystems through Integrated Learning Initiatives:The Lancaster Case

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    This paper considers a concept gaining popularity: entrepreneurial ecosystems. It finds a significant lacuna in the concept as it stands as it does not sufficiently consider learning within regional ecosystems. Considering the established centrality of learning for entrepreneurial activity and regional development, it is surprising that the entrepreneurial ecosystems literature does not yet incorporate how learning occurs in time and space within regional ecosystems. This paper presents research conducted in the North West of England over (twenty) years examining programmes to support entrepreneurial and regional development. It argues that learning, and the pro-active support thereof, is crucial within an entrepreneurial ecosystem and should be fully considered within theoretical frameworks and policy blueprints designed to support and encourage entrepreneurship within regions. As a tangible suggestion of how to theoretically incorporate learning into entrepreneurship ecosystem development efforts, we present an Integrated Learning Model developed by entrepreneurship scholars through collaborations with practitioners

    Awesome women and bad feminists: the role of online social networks and peer support for feminist practice in academia

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    In her book, ‘Bad Feminist’, Roxane Gay claims this label shamelessly, embracing the contradictory aspects of enacting feminist practice while fundamentally being ‘flawed human[s]’. This article tells a story inspired by and enacting Roxane Gay’s approach in academia, written by five cis-gendered women geographers. It is the story of a proactive, everyday feminist initiative to survive as women in an academic precariat fuelled by globalised, neoliberalised higher education. We reflect on what it means to be (bad) feminists in that context, and how we respond as academics. We share experiences of an online space used to support one another through post-doctoral life, a simple message thread, which has established an important role in our development as academics and feminists. This article, written through online collaboration, mirrors and enacts processes fundamental to our online network, demonstrating the significance and potential of safe digital spaces for peer support. Excerpts from the chat reflect critically on struggles and solutions we have co-developed. Through this, we celebrate and validate a strategy we know that we and others like us find invaluable for our wellbeing and survival. Finally, we reflect on the inherent limitations of exclusive online networks as tools for feminist resistance

    A step into the unknown:universities and the governance of regional economic development

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    As the social and economic landscape changes, universities are coming under growing pressure to contribute to the economic development of their localities. This paper explores the increasing trends towards universities as key actors in the governance of regional economic development through activities to support economic and entrepreneurship development in their regions. A case study is presented of an institution in the UK which is increasingly situating itself in the economic governance sphere. Drawing on the experiences of those working at the coalface of economic governance activities, the opportunities and potential challenges faced by a university when engaging in such activities are explored. The ultimate goal of this paper is to shed light on universities’ activities in the realm of regional economic governance, an area currently under-explored in extant literature
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