Despite the fact that ’regional development’ is a broad term, our research in this realm can be viewed as an effort to reduce regional disparities by supporting (employment and wealth-generating) economic activities in the peripheral regions of Norway. In the past, regional development policy tended to try and achieve these objectives by means of large-scale infrastructure development and by attracting inward investment.
Regional development as an academic field of study addresses not merely the outcome of “market forces,” but also complex political, institutional, and cultural factors that shape the way in which economic’ decisions are made. For this reason, economists, sociologists, political scientists, and historians, as well as geographers, are among those who have contributed to the study of regional development. The effort to understand regional development is a multidisciplinary (or even interdisciplinary) inquiry. The role of institutions, government, and governance all matter in terms of shaping patterns of development, but technology also matters. Vestlandsforsking contributes to this field of knowledge by action research in several subfields, including implications and effects of introducing new ICTs, and network cooperation.