EU Study Mission Report: Innovation Systems in Action

This report outlines the key findings from the EU Study Mission and how best practice can be adopted into the Gippsland Smart Specialisation Strategy.

MSSI, LH Martin Institute at the University of Melbourne and RMIT University’s European Union Centre of Excellence for Smart Specialisation and Regional Policy are working in partnership with the Latrobe Valley Authority to develop a Smart Specialisation Strategy for the Gippsland region in Victoria, Australia.

The approach adopted has been modelled on the European approach to regional development, with a focus on place-based innovation systems centred around a specific set of (knowledge) assets that provide competitive advantage at both the regional, national and global level.

The purpose of the study mission to the Netherlands and Germany in June 2019 was to experience how these approaches to place-based innovation play out in reality, and what lessons our European colleagues have learned from their ongoing engagement with regional innovation systems.

The mission focused on a group of distinctive regional innovation systems that each have their own strengths, specialisations, and unique characteristics. In the Netherlands these regions were Groningen (New Energy), Gelderland (Food Valley), Zuid Holland (Westland) and Limburg (Freshpark and Greenport Venlo; Brightlands Campus). In Germany the region of Weser-Ems was chosen for its energy transition experience.

This report summarises the main findings from the study mission, with descriptions of the regional innovation systems visited and reflections on the key learnings taken by the participants, and their implications for the further development of a place-based innovation system for Gippsland.