Ivano Dileo, Guest Editor, Department of Political Science, University of Bari Aldo Moro and ICEDE Research Group, Italy.
Manuel González-López, Guest Editor, Department of Applied Economics, University of Santiago de Compostela and ICEDE Research Group, Spain.

Over the last decades, broad disparities at national and sub-national level have been considered a topic of main interest for both the academic world and policy makers.

Particularly, the widest gap in terms of innovation (Freeman, 1987; Nelson, 1993) and entrepreneurial development (Acs & Armington, 2002) seems to emerge in the differences between peripheral/less developed regions and more developed ones. This inequality depends on the different technological paths and trajectories, innovation models, regional innovation policies, and strategies that each territory has experienced over time (Uyarra & Flanagan, 2010), including the weak ability to adapt themselves to the structural changes required by the global society.

The worldwide spread of models more oriented to knowledge production shows remarkable geographical peculiarities nowadays (Asheim et al., 2009). This topic has been investigated by several scholars in terms of innovative clusters (Audretsch & Feldman, 1996), regional innovation systems (Lundvall, 1992; Asheim et al., 2006; Edquist, 2005) and innovation networks (Boschma & Frenken, 2009).

More recently, the downgrading of traditional manufacturing and districts-based models in Europe, as well as the development of innovation clusters in developing territories (Giuliani et al., 2005), have also highlighted the importance of increasing relationships between global and local-regional networks of entrepreneurs and innovators (Bathelt et al., 2004; Fitjar & Rodríguez-Pose, 2011). These linkages are of particular importance, especially for the growth of SMEs in less developed and peripheral regions, as they can increase their absorption capacity through inter-sectoral innovation flows (Rodríguez-Pose & Crescenzi, 2008).

However, also within peripheral regions, differences are often highly exacerbated (González-López et al., 2014). As pointed out by Tödtling and Trippl (2005) and Isaksen and Jacobsen (2017) the success of innovation systems in less developed and peripheral regions is triggered by diverse basic conditions and push factors (Pylak, 2015). This circumstance highlights the need for new place-based and territorial-oriented approaches in terms of innovation and entrepreneurial models, particularly within peripheral and less developed regions where several elements are involved, such as structural factors, abilities, human capital, etc., all potentially lead to innovation models and higher levels of competitiveness.

For this special issue, original qualitative, quantitative and methodological contributions are welcome, with a particular focus on less developed and peripheral regions in a debate involving innovation, entrepreneurship and technological upgrading.

Topics to be addressed may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • entrepreneurship and startup growth in peripheral and/or less developed regions,
  • regional innovation policy in peripheral and/or less developed regions,
  • external and internal linkages for regional innovation,
  • technological transfer and university-industry relationships in regions,
  • smart specialization strategies and best practices,
  • cooperation and capabilities for innovation in peripheral and/or less developed regions,
  • digitalization processes and regional innovation,
  • SMEs, innovation, and entrepreneurship,
  • spatial and technological proximity in less developed and peripheral regions,
  • absorption capacity, skilled human capital in less developed and peripheral regions,

Submission guidelines:

Submission deadline: 30th July 2018
Papers reviewed: 30th September 2018
Revised papers reviewed and accepted: 30th November 2018
Final versions of accepted papers delivered: 30th October 2018
Papers published: at the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019.

Paper submission

Papers should be submitted before the end of 30th July 2018 by email with “Call for papers Less Developed and Peripheral Regions” in the subject line to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and cc Ivano Dileo This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. They will undergo a double-blind review and must be in sufficient detail for the referees to judge their meaning and value.

Submissions must be in English, should be no more than 15-20 pages in length (up to 5,000 - 8,000 words), and follow the submission requirements posted on the JEMI website at http://jemi.edu.pl/submission-and-policy Notifications of acceptance or rejection will be sent to authors within less than two months.


  • Armington, C. & Acs, Z.C., & (2002). The determinants of regional variation in new firm formation. Regional Studies, 36(1), 33-45.
  • Asheim, B., Isaksen, A., Nauwelaers, C., & Tödtling, F. (Eds.) (2003). Regional Innovation Policy for Small-Medium Enterprises. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Asheim, B., Olof, E., & Rickne, A. (2009). When is regional “beautiful”? Implications for knowledge flows, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Industry and Innovation, 16(1), 1-9.
  • Audretsch, D., & Feldman, M. (1996). Innovative clusters and the industry life cycle. Review of Industrial Organisation, 11(2), 253-273.
  • Bathelt, H., Malmberg, A., & Maskell, P. (2004). Clusters and knowledge: Local buzz, global pipelines and the process of knowledge creation. Progress in Human Geography, 28(1), 31-56.
  • Boschma, R., & Frenken, K. (2009). The Spatial Evolution of Innovation Networks: A Proximity Perspective. Retrieved from http://econ.geo.uu.nl/peeg/peeg0905.pdf
  • Edquist, C., (2005). Systems of Innovation–Perspectives and Challenges. In J. Fagerberg, D. Mowery & R. Nelson (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Innovation (pp. 181-208). Oxford: Oxford University Press, Oxford,
  • Fitjar, R., & Rodríguez-Pose, A. (2011). Firm collaboration and modes of innovation in Norway. Research Policy, 42(1), 128-138.
  • Freeman, C. (1987). Technology Policy and Economic Performance. London: Pinter.
  • Giuliani, E., Pietrobelli, C., & Rabellotti, R. (2005). Upgrading in global value chains: Lessons from Latin American clusters. World Development, 33(4), 549-573.
  • González-López, M., Dileo, I., & Losurdo, F. (2014). University-industry collaboration in the European regional context: The cases of Galicia and Apulia regions. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation, 10(3), 57-88.
  • Isaksen, A., & Jakobsen, S.E. (2017). New path development between innovation systems and individual actors. European Planning Studies, 25(3), 355-370.
  • Lundvall, B.A. (Ed.) (1992). National Systems of Innovation: Towards a Theory of Innovation and Interactive Learning. London: Pinter.
  • Nelson, R.R. (Ed.) (1993). National Innovation Systems: A Comparative Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Pylak, K. (2015). Changing innovation process models: A chance to break out of path dependency for less developed regions. Regional Studies, 2(1), 46-72.
  • Rodríguez-Pose, A., & Crescenzi, R. (2008). R&D, spillovers, innovation systems and the genesis of regional growth in Europe. Regional Studies, 42(1), 51-67.
  • Tödtling, F., & Trippl, M. (2005). One size fits all? Towards a differentiated regional innovation policy approach, Research Policy, 34(8), 1203-1219.
  • Uyarra, E., & Flanagan, K. (2010). From regional systems of innovation to regions as innovation policy spaces. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 28(4), 681-695.