Sites and Modes of Knowledge Creation: On the Spatial Organization of Biotechnology Innovation

Detta är en avhandling från Department of Social and Economic Geography, Lund University

Sammanfattning: The accelerated speed and intensity of global interconnections in all segments of society during the last couple of decades have had a profound impact on the workings of contemporary capitalism. Increased pressure is put on national and regional economies to continuously upgrade their competitive advantages, at the same time as new learning opportunities occur at a faster rate than ever. For reasons like these, knowledge is described as the most important resource, and learning the most important process, for firms and organizations, as well as nations and regions, to become and remain competitive. In parallel with the forces of globalization there are however also strong forces of localization. Empirical studies reveal that knowledge intensive industries tend to agglomerate in space, often in proximity to leading universities and research institutes, and several policy initiatives raised in attempts to meet the challenges of globalization are focused on promoting local knowledge spillovers between industry and academia. Observations like these intrigue geographers interested in the spatial organization of innovation and raises important questions about what is local and what is global in "the globalizing learning economy". This study takes these observations as point of departure and develops a conceptual framework used to analyze the spatial organization of innovation in biotechnology. Biotechnology is a suitable case for such analysis since it represents a set of activities in the intersection of science and industry which displays both globalization and localization. By combining a system perspective with in-depth focus on concrete knowledge creation activities the study explains how and why knowledge interaction between firms and related actors varies with different activities embedded in the innovation processes. Empirical focus is put the Swedish-Danish bioregion Medicon Valley. The study is reported in five articles which can also be read separately. Two of the articles focus on the aggregate of dedicated biotechnology firms (DBFs) composing the bioregion, while the remaining three focus on a selection of DBFs and academic research groups involved in innovation projects spanning from basic science with not yet fully identified commercial applications to more applied product development in different subfields of biotechnology related industries.

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