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A Co-evolutionary Development of Bio-clusters: the Cases of Cambridge UK and Scotland

Papaioannou, T   Rosiello, A

International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development   4 (5) 386-413

May 2012

Abstract: Bio-clusters have been at the centre of regional dynamics in the last ten years. The fact that they allow innovation and competitiveness to emerge through intense interactions between various agents in close geographic proximity has stimulated the interest of policy-makers with aspirations to establish biotechnology presence in their regions. The purpose of this study is to offer a new framework of understanding of bioclusters as uneven historical developments which co-evolve with biotechnology, venture capital, firm-level capability development and socio-political institutions. In doing so, it focuses on the distinct cases of Cambridge and Scotland, critically taking on board a recently developed industry life cycle model. The study uses qualitative data collected through 64 face-to-face interviews. The main finding is that co-evolutionary development of bio-clusters is dynamic, involving, nevertheless, certain pre-conditions, discontinuities and contradictions. Although this finding is about Cambridge and Scotland, the historical framework proposed here might be extended to understanding of bioclusters in other regions.

Keywords: bioclusters; biotechnology; biotech; innovation; regional dynamics; public policy; technology development; venture capital; socio-political institutions; Cambridge; Scotland; life cycle modelling.