The overall scope of this thesis is to consider the relationship between knowledge, space and technology in the ‘knowledge economy’ by drawing upon biotechnology value chains as a case study of the knowledge economy. Central to this is the claim that although biotechnology is an internationally distributed sector, it is also concentrated in specific places because those locations provide an advantage through dynamic innovation processes. Such processes are embedded in places because those places have a particular set of knowledge inputs and provide access to other knowledge inputs outwith those places. In this sense, the knowledge economy can be seen as dependent upon different places and scales that all contribute to the innovation process and therefore necessitate relationships within and between different and diverse locations.
The major contribution to knowledge that the thesis provides is the development of a new conceptual understanding of innovation processes called the knowledge-space dynamic that focuses on the knowledge and spatial features of the innovation process rather than assuming that the concentration of innovation necessarily entails specific knowledge and spatial characteristics. Consequently the thesis picks apart the current emphasis on certain types of knowledge (e.g. tacit and explicit) to explore the ways in which these are combined in the innovation process and embedded in particular places. Thus the research approach in the thesis adopts a new methdological framework to collect and analyse secondary and primary data that has not been previously undertaken. Overall the thesis conclusion is that the knowledge economy – and especially the biotech industry – may not represent the best method for regional development.
Faculty of Health and Life SciencesDepartment of Biological and Medical Sciences
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