Journal Article

Cluster-based Technology Policy: The German Experience

Industry and Innovation, 14(1): 69–94

The German Federal Government has undertaken a series of particularly interesting policy experiments in the field of technology policy in recent years, a major policy innovation being the explicit recognition of regional clustering aspects in federal support programmes. The paper provides a categorization and assessment of these policy experiments and tries to shed some new light on two fundamental policy questions that are important beyond the German context: (i) can clusters be built by national government policy action? and (ii) is regionalization of technology policy a suitable means of achieving goals at the national level? We find that utilizing the regional level to boost national innovation and competitiveness can—under certain conditions explicated in the paper—indeed be seen as a promising means of achieving national goals. More specifically, we find that InnoRegio type programmes might be particularly useful in regions with distinctive structural problems such as the Central and Eastern European countries, whereas BioRegio type models might be a suitable means of policy‐making at the level of the European Union.