Regional Innovation Systems (RIS) are economic systems in which companies, universities, research institutions, individually or in cooperation with each other, create, disseminate, and apply knowledge in various forms. Regional Innovation Systems are an important vehicle for strengthening the economic power and dynamics of a region. Prominent examples include Silicon Valley in the United States, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology cluster in Basel, or the watch industry in the Swiss Jura region.
The analysis of RIS has a long tradition in economic geography and regional science research. The approach is also used in Switzerland's New Regional Policy (NRP) to promote more rural and peripheral regions. We analyze Regional Innovation Systems using quantitative and qualitative data.
When one thinks of the region Emmental, the Swiss cheese "Emmentaler" comes to mind. Less well known is the fact that the region is home to numerous innovative export-based companies and that the secondary sector is an important pillar of the Emmental's economic structure. World-leading companies such as Jakob AG Rope Systems in Trubschachen or PB Swiss Tools in Wasen, i.E., not only produce in the Emmental but also drive research and development at this location.
This project deals with the innovative development of rural regions such as the Emmental and focuses on the following questions:
We analyze companies and their innovation behavior in rural and peripheral regions such as Emmental, Gruyère, or Appenzell. It should be noted that a peripheral location not only has disadvantages but that companies also see the unique advantages and that they exploit them in a targeted manner.
Our analyses suggest that companies in peripheral regions use the local environment and appreciate the quality of life on the one hand and that they also obtain external knowledge via innovation networks that they cultivate. In sum, it can be said that Regional Innovation Systems do exist in the periphery, but that they have a different spatial orientation than their urban counterparts.