This project represents the convening of leading academic researchers in place-based innovation policy and related areas to provide timely insight for the NSF Regional Innovation Engines program. Its objective is to bring together a diverse group of NBER researchers and policymakers from the NSF to i) provide an assessment of the “state of knowledge” of place-based innovation ecosystems, and its relationship to both geographic and socioeconomic inclusion, ii) identify the insights of this research for the design and implementation of the REI program, and iii) surface potential means by which to measure and assess the program (and individual REI interventions) on a rigorous and ongoing basis.
The project is divided in two phases. In the first phase of the project, a “reading group” would convene on a regular (monthly) basis to assess the “state of the field” and “open questions” around specific topics in the economics of regional innovation ecosystems. These meetings, structured around the needs and priorities of the NSF, would serve as a precursor to the second phase of the project, a one and a half day research conference bringing together top researchers across several areas of interest to summarize the key insights around each topic and discuss key frontier questions in a discussion panel. Synthetic summaries of both the reading group meetings and conference will be developed, serving as a basis for future reference in the development of the Regional Innovation Engines initiative.