At the initiative of the province of Zeeland, a number of years ago the Scientific Board Zeeland was established, aiming at bridging education, research and business in the province. During the first few months of 2019 I mapped regional developments in regards with a five-year project called ‘De Slimme Kracht van Zeeland’ [Zeelands Smart Force]. My job as a research expert, well-embedded in the regional networks, was to map the regional developments in the past five years and update the results from the first study in this project, done in 2015 (Meijaard, 2014).
For this study I conducted 22 interviews with representatives from regional education, research, trade and industry and provincial government. The interview data were then thematically analyzed and the report with the results and recommendations was presented to the Executive Council in Zeeland and the Commissioner to the King, in April 2019 (Verhoeven, 2019). In response to the research outcomes, the Scientific Board endorses the results (Brandenbarg, 2019), summarized as three main concepts: decisiveness, collaboration and growing self-consciousness in Zeeland.