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Genomics Innovation in Scotland

Alessandro Rosiello

June 1 2003 – May 31 2005


Biotechnology is a classical example of a knowledge-based industry. Understanding the process of industrial and technological change requires concentrating on the interaction among a plurality of players and on the processes of knowledge ‘exploration’, ‘examination’ and ‘exploitation’.

Alessandro has concentrated on the effect of knowledge exploration and exploitation dynamics and its interaction with institutional infrastructure, with collaboration networks and innovation policy on firms' locational choices.

Aims and objectives

Empirical analysis has aimed to find out:

  • Whether SE was able to encourage collaborative behaviour and the establishment of networks helping individual firms get access to and employ key assets?
  • How important are the links outside Scotland?
  • How significant and effective have the diverse activities of Scottish Enterprise been in support of companies' activities?
  • What type of support have companies received from intermediaries such as lawyers and financial institutions?

Research methods

Review of the literature on clusters and systems of innovation, including in-depth examination of theoretical and applied works on geographical agglomeration in high tech industries and of policy measures inspired by the doctrine of the ‘triple-helix’. Dr Rosiello has collected evidence on the Scottish, Danish and Swedish systems of innovation and legislative/institutional frameworks.

Interviews have been conducted in 18 core biotechnology companies based in Scotland and 14 based in Sweden and Denmark. The data were analysed in terms of: the impact of the policy framework on firms’ location decisions; knowledge creation, use and transfer, the mechanisms of such process and how this affects firms' strategies and behaviour; and the interplay and co-evolution between industrial and innovation trajectories and institutions.

Key findings

The results are providing useful information on the influence of public policies on the development of effective corporate strategies, and the growth of a significant number of competitive firms in Scotland.

Dr Rosiello has attended and presented papers at conferences and workshops in the UK, Italy, Holland, France and USA and expanded his network of connections with industrialists (CEOs of biotech companies), academics in the Copenhagen Business School, University of Toronto, the National Institute of Engineering, Technology and Innovation in Lisbon, and policy makers.

Over the next few months, he will analyse the survey data from Scotland and Medicon Valley (Sweden and Denmark) in preparation for writing the final report and other publications.

He was able to use his contacts developed for this project in the organisation of one of the sessions at the Innogen International Conference in 2005.

Recognised co-evolution of public policy, industrial structure and science/technology in different contexts;

Factors affecting locational choices by dedicated biotechnology companies: more interested in learning and enhancing core competences than in stabilising relationships with suppliers and commercial partners, this includes:

  • Access to financial resources.
  • Facilitated access to knowledge in public research institutions.
  • Support in establishing international collaborations.
  • Availability of skilled labour force.
  • Local knowledge dynamics influence locational decisions but the biotech industry is truly affected by an early process of internationalisation.


Rosiello, A (2004) At the Interfaces of Governance and Competence Perspectives presented at the Proximity Economics: Proximity, Networks, and Co-operation conference in Marseille, June 2004

Rosiello, A (2004) Genomics Innovation in Scotland presented at the 20th EGOS Colloquium in The Organization as a Set of Dynamic Relationships in Ljubljana, July 2004. This paper is under review by Urban Studies.

Rosiello, A (2004) Discussing Organisational Choices in the Scottish Biotech Industry, presented at Shifting Boundaries: Governance, Competence and Economic Organisation in the Knowledge Economy Conference in Bristol . This paper is forthcoming in a special issue regarding the conference proceedings in Technology Analysis and Strategic Management.

Rosiello, A (2004) On Knowledge Creation, Use and Transfer in the Scottish Biotech Cluster, presented at the EUNIP conference in Birmingham , December 2004.

Rosiello, A (2005) The Institutional Foundations of the Scottish Life Sciences Sector, under review by the Fraser of Allander’s Quarterly Economic Commentary.

Further information

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