Final Seminar: Technological diversification in European regions

Artur Santoalha's PhD project presents four studies whose main objective is to investigate novel aspects of processes of technological diversification in European regions. It uses the OECD REGPAT database, and it focuses on technological diversification of regional patents applicants.

Artur Santoalha is a Doctorial Research Fellow at TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Culture. This seminar marks his final evaluation prior to submission of his dissertation.

Project: Technological diversification in European regions


Results show that patterns of related diversification are clearly predominant in some regions, while in others this is not the case. Anyway, what this thesis manages to show (and reconfirm) is that relatedness is important in processes of green diversification: green technological specializations are more likely to enter a given region if they are cognitively close to the technological capabilities that are already available there. However, the role of local capabilities might be strengthened/weakened by the political support to environmental protection policies at regional/national level.

Moreover, the thesis distinguishes between intra and inter-regional collaboration and investigates their role on regional diversification. Each type of collaboration may have a positive impact on technological diversification, which is strengthened by the other and by the level of economic development of the regions.   Finally, in terms of the digital skills of the labour force, the results show that they facilitate the development of new technological specializations. However, this effect is particularly strong in less developed regions when they enter into unrelated technologies.

Implications for Policy

The topic of regional diversification is very relevant for policy as it may help and guide regions on how to transform and renew their economic, industrial and technological structures. Thus, the main empirical results of this PhD have important implications for regional policy.

First, the observation of weak related diversification paths in certain regions may require policies start exploring and considering more often the importance of unrelated capabilities and other dimensions of regional diversification beyond relatedness. Second, policies to incentivize collaboration, whose objective is to support regional diversification, should coordinate both types of cooperation: intra and inter-regional cooperation should evolve hand in hand. Third, digitalization policies to foster processes of regional transformation should target essentially less developed regions, namely sectors and organizations that have potential to develop unrelated varieties. Otherwise, digital skills may reveal unsuccessful fostering diversification, as they are particularly important to break processes of path dependence in less developed regions. Fourth, regional processes of evolution towards green technologies should evolve hand in hand with the use of those capabilities that already exist in local organizations. This facilitates these processes by mitigating the resistance of regional actors towards the adoption of green technologies.


  • Fulvio Castellacci


  • Sandor Montesor


Published Aug. 20, 2019 8:58 AM - Last modified July 29, 2022 11:23 AM