JRC looks at impact of KETs on economic growth in regions
A study conducted by the EC's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has found that key enabling technologies (KETs) – such as nano electronics or industrial biotechnologies – directly boost EU regions’ growth, particularly in regions which lag behind in innovation. By contrast, specialisation in fast growing technologies (FGTs), which have the power to disrupt markets, shows that FGTs only indirectly affect regional growth, through the impact on regions’ innovation performances (patents' growth), the study says.
The objective of the study was to enhance the understanding of how KETs affect regional innovation and economic growth in the context of smart specialisation. Regions specialised in KETs are concentrated in Central Europe, while specialisation in FGTs prevails in Scandinavian countries and the UK, according to the report. Key enabling technologies also often spread across bordering regions. In particular, a pattern of technological diffusion from Germany towards East Europe has taken place for KETs.
The study focused on two periods, 1996-1999 and 2008-2011. In the first period 68 regions were specialised in KETs, most of them located in Germany (19), Belgium (8), France (7), the Netherlands (5) and Austria (4). In 2008-2011, the number of regions specialised in KETs increased from 68 to 82 of which 34 were new entrants. The comparison showed there was a relatively high degree of mobility.
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