The scope of regional innovation policy to realize transformative change – a case study of the chemicals industry in western Sweden

Hanna Martin
2020 European Planning Studies  
Economic geography and innovation studies are increasingly asking how regional industrial development paths develop. This paper addresses the scope of regional innovation policy to influence transformative change in regional industries, such as that needed to cope with grand societal challenges including climate change. We take a cross-disciplinary perspective using the regional innovation system framework, which is focused on innovation-based regional development, and complement this with
more » ... ment this with insights from the sociotechnical transitions literature and its conceptualizations of sociotechnical regimes and niches. Empirically, we study the case of the chemicals industry in the Gothenburg-Stenungsund region, Sweden's largest basic chemicals industry cluster. Shifting from discussion to action appears challenging for this regional industry, despite advances in technology development, ongoing cooperation between the region's public and private sectors and its ambition to become an international leader in the production of sustainable chemistry products by 2030. Using this case, we present a broader view of path development, one that includes underaddressed policy approaches attempting to create new sociotechnical alignments that require co-evolving changes across technologies, infrastructures, regulatory frameworks and other societal dimensions, both within and beyond the regional context. ARTICLE HISTORY
doi:10.1080/09654313.2020.1722616 fatcat:hdn333i235h3jiqmzr6oncflam