Table of Contents

Handbook of Research on Innovation and Clusters

Handbook of Research on Innovation and Clusters

Cases and Policies

Handbooks of Research on Clusters series

Edited by Charlie Karlsson

The role of innovations and clusters has increasingly dominated local and regional development policies in recent decades. This authoritative and accessible Handbook considers important aspects of high-tech clusters, analyses insightful cluster case studies, and provides a number of recommendations for cluster policies.

Chapter 12: The Clustering of Biotechnology Firms in Scotland

Joseph Leibovitz

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, economics and finance, economics of innovation, regional economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, organisational innovation, urban and regional studies, clusters, regional economics

Extract

12 The clustering of biotechnology firms in Scotland Joseph Leibovitz 1 Introduction In recent years, the concept of industrial clusters has gained substantial interest from academics, policy makers and commentators. It is widely believed that industrial clusters can help to improve the performance of urban and regional economies by strengthening the competitiveness of firms, thereby generating growth, employment and productivity gains (Porter, 2001). Within that context, biotechnology has been particularly attractive to policy makers situated in less-favoured regions because of its association with the ‘knowledge-based economy’. It is often perceived as a growth industry that has the potential to reposition national and regional economies competitively. While the cluster theory and policy approach has been very influential, the spatial qualities, characteristics and dynamics of clusters are less clearly understood. In particular, the relationship between clusters and urban economic change requires further theoretical and empirical scrutiny: what is the extent to which urban assets can support the development of clusters, and what types of interactions exist between varied urban settings and emerging knowledge-based activities? It is the purpose of this chapter, therefore, to highlight the major locational dynamics affecting the biotechnology industry in Scotland, with particular reference to Scotland’s two largest urban agglomerations, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The chapter draws on fieldwork which included some 35 interviews with a representative sample of biotechnology firms in Scotland, in addition to interviews with industrial experts and economic development officials. The elaboration of clustering as a dynamic and nuanced process, especially in an...

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