Knowledge, Innovation and Space

Knowledge, Innovation and Space

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Börje Johansson, Kiyoshi Kobayashi and Roger R. Stough

The contributions in this volume extend our understanding about the different ways distance impacts the knowledge conversion process. Knowledge itself is a raw input into the innovation process which can then transform it into an economically useful output such as prototypes, patents, licences and new companies. New knowledge is often tacit and thus tends to be highly localized, as indeed is the conversion process. Consequently, as the book demonstrates, space or distance matter significantly in the transformation of raw knowledge into beneficial knowledge.

Chapter 11: Universities and science and engineering labour markets in high-technology local economies: the cases of Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire

Rupert Waters and Helen Lawton Smith

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, regional economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, urban and regional studies, regional economics


That what industry might need from universities is ‘talent not technology’ (Florida 2002) is increasingly recognised by governments around the world. Talent takes the form of the intellectual and applied skills of their academic employees and of their graduates. Economic success at the regional level is therefore predicated on the match of supply and demand for such skills. Studies such as Berkovitz and Feldman’s (2006) have shown that the highly skilled are attracted to particular locations by the presence of other professionals and by other factors such as quality of life. Simmie et al’s (2002) analysis of innovation in five European cities (Amsterdam, Milan, Paris, Stuttgart and London) found that of the 25 reasons why firms would choose to locate the development of a new innovation in their city region, it was the availability of professional experts specialising in technology that scored the highest. This is a well-established pattern. Angel (1991), in his study of semiconductor firms in Silicon Valley, found that rather than hiring workers at entry level and generating skills in-house, firms preferred to meet new labour demand by recruiting experienced workers from the local labour market, and that the ability to recruit experienced workers easily from the local labour market was one of the central advantages attracting such firms to Silicon Valley.

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