The innovative system of the Marche Region faces the challenges of international competition in conditions of relative weakness with respect to a national context which is already frail. The weakness of the Marche system regards, above all, the lack of institutionalized research and, to a lesser extent, the capability to introduce and commercialise new and successful products and processes. In this framework, we document the existence of a limited albeit not negligible number of firms, even of small-medium size, which exhibit more systematic and efficient research activities, and invest in the establishment of laboratories, in the employment of qualified personnel dedicated to research and in the development of technological collaboration both with other enterprises and institutions. The relative fragility of each component of the regional innovative system (firms, universities, public establishments), which is partly compensated by an increasing recourse to collaboration both inside and outside the regional and national boundaries, is nevertheless remarkable with respect to the access to, and the use of, new technologies, especially those underlying the development of new paradigms. Furthermore, public support towards research and development is largely directed to short term objectives with immediate impact on businesses.