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2: Birmingham Science Park – Aston

An Evaluation of District + Best Practice

  • 2013

An Evaluation of District + Best Practice

Birmingham Science Park Aston (now Innovation Birmingham)

An evaluation and policy study of best practice in the implementation of regional innovation interventions within the INTERREG IVc1 District+ Programme.

Kada Research Limited was commissioned in association with Dr Adrian Healy of Cardiff University by Birmingham Science Park Aston (BSPA) to assess the transferability of good practice generated through the six sub projects within the District+ INTERREG IVC programme. The study identified the policy transfer lessons and barriers to the adoption of regional innovation policy and how to overcome them. The study aims to promote the transfer of practice amongst regional policy makers – this is very much at the heart of inter-regional co-operation programmes of this kind and the EU is particularly keen to share insights from across Europe.

By learning what works in what contexts initiatives such as District+ help to build the knowledge and capabilities of regional policy-makers to design more successful policy interventions and to secure desired outcomes. The fact that the six regions participating in District+ shared broadly similar innovation challenges, yet otherwise exhibit markedly different characteristics, provided us a valuable test-bed for assessing the transferability of approaches and for mutual learning.

As a result of the District+ experience our report made a number of recommendations about the use and application of Good Practice. These included the need to mobilize like-minded partners with a good appreciation of their respective strengths and the create the right space for collaborative innovation and a common learning environment as well as appropriate and new ways to exchange ideas including new forms/combinations of communication. One of the challenges for partners was the effective engagement of wider audiences and partner involvement in the transfer process and we made observations on how the next territorial programme might achieve this. Finally we talk about the need for a robust evidence base and maximising impact and the importance of thinking about the form, intent and scale of intervention to be achieved from a potential collaboration is essential.

“Knowledge and innovation”

“Involving six principle partners District+ aimed to promote a shift amongst traditional industrial economies to a new and more competitive development model based on knowledge and innovation.”

~ An Evaluation of District + Best Practice, Kada Research, 2013