Markets, Clusters and Innovation
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Chapter 3: Knowledge-based Sectors: Key Drivers of Innovation and Modes of Knowledge Exchange
INTRODUCTION In the previous chapter we have investigated what the knowledge economy is, pointing out that it combines an increasing importance of knowledge as input, an increasing share of sectors where knowledge constitutes an output, and a stronger role of codiﬁed knowledge as well as of ICT in the process of generation and application of knowledge. In a dynamic way the knowledge economy can also be characterized by the exploitation of existing and new knowledge in order to create more new knowledge. The empirical evidence that is available so far has demonstrated that the European countries, in fact, have been moving towards knowledge economies in terms of inputs, outputs and the use and application of ICT. However, such a move has occurred with diﬀerent speed within Europe and in most countries it is slower than in the USA. There are also considerable regional imbalances involved since knowledge-based industries tend to cluster in speciﬁc regions, cities or clusters. In this chapter we look more closely at those sectors where knowledge is both an important input and output. We ﬁrst deal with the key actors and drivers for the development of knowledge-based sectors and of innovation. An important role is held by the science sector and universities, but of course ultimately the companies are key actors responsible for the application and commercialization of knowledge. These may be large and global ﬁrms with large R&D budgets and competencies, but increasingly they are innovative SMEs or spin-oﬀ companies, often supported...
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