Matching Local and Global Dimensions: A Knowledge Based Approach to Classify European Life Sciences Clusters

  •  Adele Parmentola    


It is now widely accepted that innovation is a territorially embedded process, which cannot be fully understood independent of the social and institutional conditions of individual places. On the basis of these considerations, some authors identified criteria to define the geographic confines for the innovative process, introducing the concept of the local systems of innovation (LIS), defined as networks of technologically specialized and locally situated firms, institutions and research agencies. Nevertheless empirical evidences show that especially in high tech industry like life sciences, relatively few clusters are completely self-sufficient in terms of the knowledge base from which they draw suggesting that the knowledge flows that feed innovation in a cluster are often both local and global.

According to these considerations and starting from the knowledge based theory of innovations systems the paper proposes a theoretical framework that classifies the innovation systems considering the place of knowledge sourcing and the place of knowledge development. The framework has then been used to classify the European life sciences clusters. The empirical analysis shows that Local Innovation System is only a possible configuration of technology clusters that can be assumes also the configurations of Imported Innovation Systems, Exported Innovation Systems and Global Innovation Systems.

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