New Roles for Key Players
Edited by Willem Molle and Julia Djarova
Chapter 4: The Geography of Transfer of University Knowledge to Firms: The Case of Southern England
Adrian Healy INTRODUCTION Public sector interventions supporting R&D are increasingly justified by reference to the economic benefits that this can bring to the local and regional economy, rather than the more traditional justification centring on public good. New endogenous models of economic growth that allow for positive externalities and increasing returns to investment provide powerful arguments in favour of such an approach. Married to this shift in rationale is a concomitant decentralisation of responsibility for such interventions from the national to the regional scale. A new ‘regional turn’ is apparent, reflected in concepts such as regional systems of innovation. Yet the emphasis on a regional dimension and the role of R&D investment in promoting regional economic development relies on many assumptions, not least the importance of geographical proximity in the appropriation of the potential economic benefits. It also makes some strong assumptions about the nature of the linkages between places and organisations, and how learning and innovation occur. This chapter examines the geographical dimension to university–business knowledge transfer relationships in the UK and considers the importance of geographical proximity in practice.1 The structure of the chapter is as follows. First, we give some theoretical foundations for the study and provide evidence from the empirical literature on the subject. Second, we make explicit our approach. Third, we describe the situation of the knowledge institutes in the Greater South East Area of the UK, which is our study area as far as the origin of the innovations is concerned....
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