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Driving force and key actors for the TTR-ELAt

There is a long history of cross-border co-operation in the area, with economies of scale (critical mass) and scope (exploiting knowledge complementarities) being the main rationales for the TTR-ELAt’s efforts. A core idea for building the TTR-ELAt was to enhance critical mass in this network of regions and cities to better compete with large metropolitan areas. Sources of economies of scale for the cross-border area include: combining public resources for efficiency of investment, larger labour markets, and access to wider business and knowledge networks. Exploiting complementarities through economies of scope is a more recent, but promising, rationale in their collaboration, and one of the unique sources of competitiveness of this cross-border area still facing some deindustrialisation and delocalisation threats. Actors in the region can build on the diversity of assets in terms of research, technologies, economic base and supply chain linkages. The region has indeed considerable potential to find new combinations of complementary knowledge, expertise, skills, infrastructure and funding sources in order to develop new niches of knowledge-based activities.

While historically cross-border collaboration in the area has focused on solving border problems for local authorities, a shift towards an innovation focus requires some changes. The creation of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine, like other cross-border efforts at the time, was intended to promote greater flows of people, goods and services by addressing border-related barriers. For the TTR-ELAt, an additional collaboration effort complementing the Euregio, the primary focus is improving technology and innovation capacity and linkages throughout the area to better compete globally. This shift also changes the role of key actors in cross-border collaboration, with firms and knowledge institutions taking on a more prominent role for policy action.

Table 9.5. Snapshot of the rationale and relevance for cross-border collaboration:

The TTR-ELAt

Driver

Explanation

Relevance for cross-border co-operation (strong, moderate, weak, not present)

Economies of scale

Combine resources for efficiency of investment, larger labour markets or access to wider business and knowledge networks to increase critical mass

Strong

Political influence

Develop greater political power for more financial resources and better dialogue with higher levels of government

Moderate

Complementarities

Build on diversity of assets in terms of research, technology and economic base, as well as supply chain linkages

Strong

Branding

Increase internal recognition of the cross-border area as well as its external attractiveness to firms and skilled labour

Strong

Border issues

Address the day-to-day opportunities and challenges associated with flows of people, goods and services (including public services) across the border

Weak

Note: The assessment of relevance relates to the actual relevance in current cross-border collaboration, not necessarily to the potential relevance.

 
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