Knowledge Creation and Innovation in Medium-technology Clusters
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Riccardo Cappellin and Rüdiger Wink This book aims to increase the understanding of the process of knowledge creation and innovation in medium-technology sectors in the EU and to identify the characteristics of knowledge and innovation networks within regional clusters and the barriers to their enlargement at the European level. It investigates strategies that SMEs in medium-technology industries apply to adjust their knowledge creation processes to global structural challenges. The topic discussed in this book is absolutely crucial for the future of the European economy, as medium-technology industries are not only the dominant sectors for European exports into the global markets, but also still the fastest-growing sectors in international trade. The focus on high-technology sectors and knowledge-intensive business services found in many studies of international organizations, expert groups and scientists misses the point that these new activities are not independent from the traditionally strong manufacturing sectors in Europe, such as mediumtechnology industries. For example, bio-pharmaceutical inventions will only find their markets when they are linked with more traditional tools from medicine technology (medium-technology engineering plus electronics); modern materials are reducing the weight and increasing the flexibility and functionality of cars; aeroplanes and big machines are developed in cooperation with medium-technology machinery; high-technology electronics and chemical sectors, and new laser technologies have to be linked with optical and machinery industries to develop new products. Thus, integrative technologies are capable of developing connections between medium-technology industries and high-technology segments. Many economic studies forecast relocations of low-technology industries towards the fast-growing emerging markets,...