Instruments supporting the internationalisation


This study is titled: “Instruments supporting the internationalisation of the aerospace sector: comparative study of the leading countries and innovation proposals for these instruments”.

The different parts which it comprises are set out below, along with useful information about the study.


The organisation which was selected to conduct this study was the Department of Economic Structure and Development Economics of the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM-InEGi Group), whose website is

Research Team

The research was coordinated by Juan Carlos Salazar Elena, a lecturer in the Department of Economic Structure and Development Economics of the Autonomous University of Madrid, director of the Masters in Economics and Innovation Management (MEGIN –, and secretary of the European Inter-University Association on Society, Science and Technology (ESST- He has conducted a variety of research for organisations such as the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the Government of Spain and, more recently, for the Cotec Foundation and the Galician Innovation Agency (GAIN), conducting a study on the Galician innovation system.

To carry out this work, the coordinator of this project relied on the support of the Economics and Innovation Management Research Group (UAM-InEGi), of which he is also a member and the chief researcher in the area of innovation and evolutionary economics. The UAM-InEGi Group is composed of researchers with extensive track records in research on innovation and technological change processes.

Study summary

Over the past three decades, research on innovation has shown that the results of business innovation can only be explained through combinations of internal assets and external resources available in the company environment. No resource or capability on its own is sufficient to unleash the process of technological change. This is particularly true in the case of emerging sectors with high technology content in peripheral regions. In this context, the creation of new technological pathways often requires deep transformations of both the internal capacities of companies and the characteristics of their environment. It is for this reason that the evolution of the Galician aerospace sector has recently attracted the attention of innovation systems scholars. Nevertheless, there have been few efforts to use the knowledge of the functioning of innovation systems to assess their past and current state, to design adequate instruments which allow for the promotion of their insertion into the local innovation system and promote their international competitiveness.

The objective of this research was to generate a proposal for policies and support instruments to promote the aerospace sector in Galicia. To this end, the project had to: (i) analyse the aerospace innovation system in Galicia; (ii) place it within the international context; (iii) identify its challenges and opportunities; (iv) assess the appropriateness of the current innovation policy; and (v) produce recommendations to bring about the development of the innovation capacity of the sector and, as a result, its greater internationalisation.

The study is comprised of three stages. In the first, a diagnosis was made of the local Galician environment compared to the environment of other aerospace innovation systems. To this end, data from the Regional Innovation Scoreboard were used, selecting regions in which other aerospace innovation systems are located (for example, the members of the European Aerospace Cluster Partnership; EACP), as well as regional data on sector specialisation from Eurostat and the OECD, and business data from the Orbis and Sabi databases on turnover, R&D, patents and internationalisation. These data allowed for the Galician aerospace system to categorised within the European context.

In the second stage, a documentary review was performed of the policies on promoting the aerospace sector in the international and Galician context, both in scientific research work and policy guidance documents. This stage of the study allowed the policy instruments in Galicia to be placed in an international context and, together with the results of the first stage, it made it possible to identify whether these potential differences could be explained based on the specificity of the Galician aerospace system. The outcome of this stage was a set of policy recommendations.

In the third stage of the study, the appropriateness of the second-stage findings were submitted for consultation by a group of experts, whereby experts from different sectors involved in the Galician aerospace system (companies, technology centres, government and universities) were able to assess the appropriateness of the policy recommendations for the sector.

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