Continuity and change in path-dependent regional policy development: The regional implementation of the Norwegian VRI programme

Mai 2012

Despite being promoted as a fresh start, new innovation programmes tend to inherit structures and procedures from previous initiative. In this article we examine the regional implementation of the Norwegian VRI programme (Programme for Regional R&D and Innovation). Using insight from evolutionary theory, we elaborate on the coexistence of continuity and change in programme practice. We outline characteristics of previous programmes that have been followed in the new VRI programme, and track new elements and procedures that have been introduced. We found that this new programme does not mark a radical break with the past, and clearly illustrates path dependent evolution. On the assumption that “history matters”, our article contributes towards a more nuanced understanding of the various dimensions of path dependency.