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Making cross-border instruments work

Cross-border instruments that contribute to an overall strategy are more likely to have economic impact than if they are simply a collection of different projects. Data, mapping exercises and other forms of policy intelligence can best inform how to prioritise action. Sometimes cross-border policy instruments are experimental: they can serve as test cases before mainstreaming, whereby cross-border actors can participate in traditional innovation programmes. Flexibility in instruments on both sides of the border can be an alternative. Instruments that seek to force actors to collaborate when they have disincentives to do so, due to financial reasons, regulations or lack of a quality innovation partner, will simply not be sustainable. International examples of policy instruments implemented on a cross-border basis have shown different degrees of success.

Developing strategic joint collaborations is an opportunity to get the most out of the different innovation instruments in the cross-border area. Often such instruments are marginal, however, and only a collection of individual projects. National frameworks may be more or less open to mainstreaming cross-border opportunities, thereby raising the level of cross-border collaboration in policy terms. There are examples of specific projects or instruments that have been tried on a cross-border basis with varying degrees of success. It is therefore important to understand the conditions that help increase the chances of success, learning from the lessons in other cross-border areas. This chapter considers:

  • • the nature of the innovation policy approach for cross-border areas
  • • which innovation policy instruments appear to work well, or not, and why.
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