SS21: How is the new industrial policy paradigm shaping the geography of innovation?

Name and affiliations of the session organisers

  • Raquel Ortega-Argiles (University of Manchester)
  • Rudiger Ahrend (OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities)
  • Wessel Vermeulen (OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities)


Industrial policy has seen a revival in OECD countries in recent years. Focused on addressing current geopolitical challenges and supporting the transition towards Net Zero economies, these policies are putting a renewed focus on large scale investments and local links in production. They aim at supporting the development of green technologies and limiting the risks of disruptions in the supply chain of technological goods. The revival provides opportunities for many regions but also comes with multiple challenges for others. It raises questions that would be addressed in this special session, including:

  • What implications does the revival of industrial policy have on the geography of innovation?
  • Are international knowledge networks becoming more local?
  • Are top innovators reassessing their links outside of their home region?
  • Are foreign direct investments increasingly contained within global regions?
  • How do such policies impact the productivity of sectors and firms, what about employment?
  • How should placespecific innovation policies and smart specialisation strategies integrate and complement industrial policies?

We welcome contributions on the following or related topics. 

  • The geography of regional and global knowledge networks 
  • The geographical implications of the new industrial policy paradigm: who are the winners and the losers? How are foreign direct investments and trade links affected? 
  • How do such policies impact employment growth and/or productivity? Are there potential trade-offs resulting from inefficiencies in resource allocations? 
  • The effects of new policy instruments related to the new industrial policy paradigm on firms and places 
  • Regional innovation and smart specialisation policies in the light of the new industrial policy paradigm 
  • (Local) policies for disruptive and breakthrough innovation 


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