Presentation of the Region
The Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen – South Tyrol is the northernmost province of Italy and is bordered by Austria to the east and north and by the Swiss canton of Graubünden to the west. The Italian provinces of Belluno, Trentino, and Sondrio border to the southeast, south, and southwest, respectively. South Tyrol is the second largest province in Italy with an area of 7,400 square kilometres (2,857 sq. miles) and has a total population of 531,178 inhabitants as of 2019.
Over the past years the socio-economic growth of South Tyrol has shown an excellent trend.
A GDP rate equal to 2.5% in relation to 2009 and a pre-Covid low unemployment rate of 2.9% are the results of industrial and investment policies focused on research, innovation, pluralism, and confrontation. These principles have led to a continuously growing ecosystem and the establishment of a new technology and innovation district, the NOI Techpark. This innovation district hosts all main regional research institutions, more than 40 high-tech laboratories and over 70 start-ups and innovation-oriented companies. The overall aim is to promote networking and to encourage the transfer of technology and innovation and the development of new entrepreneurialism in research.
In addition, thanks to its border position, South Tyrol has always implemented cross-border cooperation and is present in numerous European Networks and initiatives to further support growth and competitiveness.
The South Tyrolean Smart Specialisation Strategy focuses on economic and technological fields of strength in the region (4 main macro-areas: Automation and Digital, Food and Life Science, Alpine Technologies, Green Technologies) and aims at continuously fostering its sustainable development potential as business location. The main objectives are:
- to increase innovation and competitiveness principally of its SMEs.
- to promote sustainability and digitalisation.
- to strength the collaboration with neighbouring countries.
- to invest in new research infrastructures.
This is mainly realized through the creation of synergies among the Provincial government, the university, research institutes and companies in the area. Thus, resulting in an integrated system that makes efficient use of public and private investments in research and innovation and long-term structural policy policies. New investments for example have been used in the automotive field, in which South Tyrol is one of the European regions with the strongest presence, with the forecast opening in 2022 of a dedicated technology park.