This site is all about Talent and what regions can do to attract and retain it. It is the outcome of the BUTTON project that resulted in a number of studies and publications on talent which we ordered and made available for you. Under this heading you will find some results and conclusions from these studies. We have grouped them under the headings


The project distinguishes between four ways of attracting talent: Retention of (under)graduates from local educational institutions (especially but not exclusively higher education) by active labour market and housing & amenities policies (amongst others) Attraction of graduates from elsewhere by active labour market, housing & amenities policies and the facilitation of (long-distance) commuting, supported by place-marketing …

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Talent as an economic resource

What is the meaning of talent? With ‘talent’ we do not just mean the embodiment of ‘knowledge’ or ‘knowledge creation’. In the advocacy of the ‘Knowledge Economy’, the emphasis on talent has become a popular theme, which can be seen as the last turn in the long-standing debate on the role of knowledge in regional …

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The regional talent issue

The search for talent is a region-specific problem for two reasons. First, unlike other economic factors, such as finance or knowledge, talent is relatively immobile. While commuting distances have risen considerably over the last century, labour remains highly sticky. Highly educated workers are often prepared to travel longer distances, facilitated by for instance high-speed rail …

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Policy Responses

The challenges for regional policy makers have recently changed under the pressure of an increasing need for talent. Overall, regional wealth creation has become more knowledge intensive, more sensitive to local and global opportunities and challenges, and more reflexive. In addition, on-going trends towards urban agglomeration and concentration, often in polycentric forms, are deepening the …

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Case studies

In this paper, we contribute to this journey by delving into the five regions that participate in the project, and probing their perspectives on the need for and promotion of ‘talent’. Our methodology is as follows. We first review the region’s problem definition – what are a region’s general development issues and challenges? What issues …

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What can we learn from this comparison? Looking at the regions individually, the way the policies are structured manifest a clear difference in priority setting. We see regions that set priorities in strategic plans (ESP), programmes (NED), projects (GER), examples of cooperation (SWI) or a combination of them (NOR). Not many regions have a global …

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