Spatial heterogeneity in the distribution of European research and development funds and its effects on territorial cohesión

  1. Fernando Rubiera Morollón
  2. Tania Fernández García
Investigaciones Regionales = Journal of Regional Research

ISSN: 1695-7253 2340-2717

Year of publication: 2023

Issue: 56

Pages: 9-30

Type: Article

DOI: 10.38191/IIRR-JORR.23.008 DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openDialnet editor

More publications in: Investigaciones Regionales = Journal of Regional Research


The latest research and development (R&D) framework programmes of the European Union (EU), “Horizon 2020” and “Horizon Europe”, have significantly increased the resources available to promote science and innovation in Europe. However, the strong competitiveness of the research teams and their search for excellence may cause inequality in the spatial distribution of investment effort in R&D. The aim of this paper is to analyse the geographic distribution of R&D spending in the EU. A greater concentration of funds is observed in the most advanced and dynamic economies, capable of promoting more competitive research teams and projects. through an empirical analysis, estimated by a spatial convergence model, it is found that EU R&D funds are preventing cross-regional convergence in Europe by driving growth mainly in wealthier regions. Based on these results, it seems relevant to consider spatial correction mechanisms for the distribution of R&D resources so that they achieve greater territorial cohesion in Europe.

Bibliographic References

  • Bengoa, M., Martínez-San Román, V., and Pérez, P. (2015). Do R&D activities matter for productivity? A regional spatial approach assessing the role of human and social capital. Economic Modelling.
  • Crescenzi, R. (2005). Innovation and regional growth in the enlarged Europe: the role of local innovative capabilities. peripherality and education. Growth and Change, 36, 471–507.
  • EUA (2002). More Research for Europe-Towards 3% of GDP.
  • European Commission (2003). Investing in research: an action plan for Europe.
  • European Commission (2005). More research and Innovation. A common Approach.
  • European Commission (2010). Europe 2020. A European strategy for smart. sustainable and inclusive growth.
  • European Commission (2020). Strategic Plan 2020-2024. DG Research and Innovation.
  • European Parliament (2000). Lisbon European Council 23 and 24 March 2000. Presidency conclusions.
  • Feldman. M.P. and Florida, R. (1994). The Geographic Sources of Innovation: Technological Infrastructure and Product Innovation in the United States. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 84(2), 210-229.
  • Fernández-García. T., Liern. V., Pérez-Gladish B. and Rubiera-Morollón. F. (2022). Measuring the territorial effort in research. development. and innovation from a multiple criteria approach: Application to the Spanish regions case. Technology in Society, 70.
  • Fremstad, A., Petach, L. and Tavani, D. (2019). Climate Change, Innovation, and Economic Growth: The Contributions of William Nordhaus and Paul Romer. Review of Political Economy.
  • Gambau-Albert, M. and Maudos, J. (2006).Technological activity and productivity in the Spanish regions. Annals in Regional Science, 40, 55-80.
  • Godin, B. (2006). The Linear Model of Innovation. The Historical Construction of an Analytical Framework. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 31(6), 639-667.
  • Griliches, Z. (1973). Research Expenditures and Growth Accounting. Science and Technology in Economic Growth.
  • Hervás-Oliver. J.L., Davide. M., Rodriguez-Pose. A. and Sempere-Ripoll. F. (2021). The drivers of SME innovation in the regions of the UE. Research Policy, 50.
  • Kaneva, M. and Untura, G. (2017). The impact of R&D and knowledge spillovers on the economic growth of Russian regions. Growth and Change, 50, 301-334.
  • Krugman, P. (1994). The Age of Diminished Expectations. Chambridge.
  • López. J. and Martínez, D. (2017). Looking beyond the R&D effects on innovation: The contribution of non-R&D activities to total factor productivity growth in the UE. Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 40, 37-45.
  • LeSage, J.P. (2008). An introduction to Spatial Econometrics. Revue d´économie industrielle, 123, 19-44.
  • Minasian, J.R. (1962). The economics of Research and Development. The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors. Princeton University Press.
  • OECD (2007). Innovation and Growth: Rationale for an Innovation Strategy.
  • OECD (2015). Frascati Manual 2015. Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development. The Measurement of Scientific, Technological and Innovation Activities.
  • Rodríguez-Pose. A. and Crescenzi. R. (2008). Research and development, spillovers, innovation systems and the genesis of regional growth in Europe. Regional Studies, 42(1), 51-67.
  • Rodríguez-Pose, A. and Villarreal-Peralta, E.M. (2015). Innovation and Regional Growth in Mexico: 2000-2010. Growth and Change, 46(2), 172-195.
  • Romer, P.M. (1994). The Origins of Endogenous Growth. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 8(1), 3-22.
  • Sapir. A. (2003). An Agenda for Growing Europe. Making the EU Economic System Deliver.
  • Sheehan. J. and Wyckoff. A. (2003). Targeting R&D: Economic and Policy Implications of Increasing R&D Spending. OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers.
  • Solow, R. (1957). Technical Change and the Aggregate Production Function. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 39(3), 312-320.