The subsidiarity principle in innovation policy for societal challenges
While national governments are the main actors in innovation policy, we witness a proliferation of challenge-oriented innovation policies both at the subnational and the supranational level, Iris Wanzenbock and Koen Frenken argue.
This begs the question about subsidiarity: what innovation policies for societal challenges should be organized at subnational, national and supranational levels? We provide arguments that innovation policies aimed to solve societal challenges, such as climate change or aging, are best pursued at subnational levels given the contested nature of problem identification and the contextual nature of problem-solving. Regional innovation policy, then, should formulate concrete societal goals tailored to the local context, while the transnational context promotes inter-regional learning and provides the complementary policies in the realms of basic research, regulation and taxation. In addition, the supranational level can set overall goals that are made more concrete and operational at the subnational level.
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