The paper analyzes the supply of research and innovation of Northern Italy in the context of European standards. Weaknesses are the average small size of firms and the incremental innovation of SMEs; strenghts are the ability to create networks of cooperation among firms in R&D and the good integration among firms, the urban creative class and Universities. Research and innovation have been developed mostly through incubators, science parks, technology centers distributed in many Northern Italy cities and regions. Their structures are largely disconnected and a lack of integration among different research clusters emerges. The next European Union ‘Horizon 2020’ framework programmes for R§D ask for a great capacity of Nations to build cooperation and integration among their R§D and innovation structures, as well as to develop cross-countries and transborder strategies and joint initiatives. Italy is lagging behind: only the creation of a Research and Innovation Field integrated at Northern Italy’s scale and scope will make Italian Universities and research structures able to compete at European level.
Keywords: Industrial organization, research and innovation policies, Northern Italy.