Regional Studies: Regional Studies Association Call for Papers

Special Issue

Regional Studies


A more explicit recognition of the role of innovation and entrepreneurial networks among regional stakeholders offers new and exciting directions for less developed regions to help clarify their smart specialization strategies. However, despite growing research initiatives and the political discussion about smart specialization in less developed regions, the interaction between regional stakeholders and their contribution to regional competitiveness and internationalization are still little understood. At the same time, the limited capacity of many less developed regions to efficiently involve regional stakeholders due to lack of good governance and weak institutions is well recognised. This special issue explores the implementation of a learning region approach as a bottom-up way of designing and implementing smart specialization strategies for less developed regions.

It is generally accepted that networks, collective learning and innovation in knowledge intensive economic activities constitute the basis of the economic and territorial progress worldwide. On this assumption, it is vital that the smart specialization strategies of these regions define policies that foster maximum learning within and between regions.

This special issue aims to promote theoretical and empirical research on smart specialization strategies in less developed regions, highlighting the role of collaborative networks, regional development policies and governance models. The guest editors invite contributions dealing with new theoretical and empirical perspectives in regional innovation systems and smart specialization strategies in the context of learning regions, privileging multi-regional and comparative approaches.

Topics might include but are not limited to the following:

  • Is regional innovation policy sufficient to address the socio-economic problems of less developed regions worldwide?
  • How can smart specialization strategies contribute to the growth of peripheral regions?
  • How can innovation and the entrepreneurial discovery process be developed in learning regions?
  • What do innovation and entrepreneurship networks contribute to the competitiveness of regions?
  • What is the role of academia in the context of learning regions and smart specialisation?

Submission Instructions

Submission Guidelines

Please send your extended abstract (max. 500 words) to the guest editors by 30th June 2018. Notification about further consideration of contributions (subject to the journal’s usual peer review process) will be given by 31st July 2018. Full papers will be expected by 30th November 2018. For more information on submitting your article please visit the Instructions for Authors page. Please submit your proposal to:

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Roel Rutten, Tilburg University, Netherlands (
  • Guest Editor: Bjorn Asheim, UiS Business School/Centre for Innovation Research, University of Stavanger, Norway
  • Guest Editor: Luis Farinha, Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco & UBI-NECE, Portugal
  • Guest Editor: Joao J. Ferreira, University of Beira Interior, Portugal