Recognizing that innovation is the key to international competitiveness in the 21st century, policymakers around the world are seeking more effective ways to translate scientific and technological knowledge into new products, processes, and businesses. They have initiated major programs, often with substantial funding, that are designed to attract, nurture, and support innovation and high-technology industries within their national economies.
To help U.S. policymakers become more aware of these developments, a committee of the National Academies' Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy undertook a review of the goals, concept, structure, operation, funding levels, and evaluation efforts of significant innovation programs around the world. As a part of this effort, the committee identified Flanders, a region of Belgium with substantial autonomy, which is recognized for its comprehensive approach to innovation. Based on initial meetings in Washington and Brussels, and with the endorsement of Flanders Vice Minister-President Fientje Moerman, it was agreed to organize a conference that would review regional innovation policies in the context of the policies and programs of the Flanders government, and their interaction with those of the European Union. This book provides a summary of that symposium.