- There is a clear concentration of scientific regions in northern and central Europe
- Research intensive regions are mainly concentrated in territories characterised by manufacturing productive specialisation such as those in the northern Italy
- ‘Human capital intensive regions’ are mainly to be found in northern Europe whereas ‘regions with no specialisation in knowledge activities’ cover most parts of Europe
- The comparison with USA and other emerging economies such as India or China demonstrates that the concentration of research activities is largely similar to the European panorama
Observations for policy
Scientific regions are concentrated in the centre and in the north of Europe, most of them in Western countries. A comparison with the US and with emerging countries, India and China, shows that the concentration of research activities is something that Europe has in common with these countries. In particular, both India (around Delhi and the South) and China (coastal regions) have highly concentrated territorial patterns of scientific efforts, even more concentrated than a ÔÇśmatureÔÇÖ innovation system like the US one, witnessing that the achievement of a critical mass is fundamental in scientific activities, especially in relatively less rich countries, with limited funds to be devoted to R&D.
Europe 2020 puts a strong focus on smart growth. Consequently scientific regions can have a certain role to play, not at least with regard to the aim that 3 per cent of the EU’s GDP (public and private combined) should be invested in R&D. However, the presence of advanced sectors and advanced functions like R&D and higher education are special features of only some of the possible innovation paths and, though relevant, cannot be considered as necessary or sufficient preconditions for innovation.
The map presents a regional typology based on the level of research activities and the human capital in a region. The map shows clearly a concentration of scientific regions in the centre and in the north of Europe.
Scientific regions have both above average levels of research activities and human capital. In total there are 74 such regions. Among the top ten scientific regions, the Nordic countries are largely represented, together with Swiss and Belgian regions. Also Germany, the Netherlands and the UK have several scientific regions. Moreover, several capital city regions represent scientific regions, such as Prague, Madrid or Paris.
Research intensive regions have above average research activities but below average human capital. They are concentrated in territories characterised by a manufacturing productive specialisation, such as northern Italy, and many German regions.
ÔÇśHuman capital intensive regionsÔÇÖ have above average human capital, but below average research activities. They are mainly to be found in northern Europe.
However, most regions have no specialisation in knowledge activities. Regions which neither have a high level of human capital nor research activities are mainly located in the rural and/or peripheral territories of Europe.
Concepts and methods
In order to classify territories with respect to a single dimension, a synthetic indicator was created as the sum of the human capital and research activity composite indicators. It measures the level of human capital stock in a region by means of three indicators (percentage of population employed in the education sector; share of population that has attained at least a university degree; funding per capita in the activities of the 5th Framework Programmes). Similarly, the level of research activities is measured using four indicators (R&D expenditures per capita; percentage of employees in R&D; number of patent per capita for all economic sectors; number of patents per capita for high-tech sectors).