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'The tyranny of distance': Biotechnology networks and clusters in the antipodes

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  • Gilding, Michael

Abstract

Regional governments around the world hope to become significant players in the world biotechnology industry through their support for local clusters. This article explores whether or not this is a realistic ambition. It does so through network analysis of biotechnology firms located in Melbourne, Australia, the leading biotechnology cluster in the Asia-Pacific. The article finds that the Melbourne cluster is characterized by both intensive regionalism and precocious internationalism, fuelled by 'the tyranny of distance' [Blainey, G., 1966. The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped Australia's History. Sun, Melbourne]. The regional ties are partial; the international ties are precarious. Support from venture capital and deals with big pharma are especially problematic. 'The tyranny of distance' is exacerbated by cultural dynamics, favouring ties with the US and UK rather than Japan and Korea, for example. In this context, making the cluster viable is an immense challenge, calling for imaginative and finely-directed public policy measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilding, Michael, 2008. "'The tyranny of distance': Biotechnology networks and clusters in the antipodes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6-7), pages 1132-1144, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:37:y:2008:i:6-7:p:1132-1144
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    1. Jason Owen-Smith & Massimo Riccaboni & Fabio Pammolli & Walter W. Powell, 2002. "A Comparison of U.S. and European University-Industry Relations in the Life Sciences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 24-43, January.
    2. Mangematin, Vincent & Lemarie, Stephane & Boissin, Jean-Pierre & Catherine, David & Corolleur, Frederic & Coronini, Roger & Trommetter, Michel, 2003. "Development of SMEs and heterogeneity of trajectories: the case of biotechnology in France," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 621-638, April.
    3. Walter Powell & Kenneth Koput & James Bowie & Laurel Smith-Doerr, 2002. "The Spatial Clustering of Science and Capital: Accounting for Biotech Firm-Venture Capital Relationships," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(3), pages 291-305.
    4. Casper, Steven, 2007. "How do technology clusters emerge and become sustainable?: Social network formation and inter-firm mobility within the San Diego biotechnology cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 438-455, May.
    5. McKelvey, Maureen & Alm, Hakan & Riccaboni, Massimo, 2003. "Does co-location matter for formal knowledge collaboration in the Swedish biotechnology-pharmaceutical sector?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 483-501, March.
    6. Kevin Rees, 2005. "Interregional Collaboration And Innovation In Vancouver'S Emerging High-Tech Cluster," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 96(3), pages 298-312, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Rooney & Tom Mandeville & Tim Kastelle, 2013. "Abstract Knowledge and Reified Financial Innovation: Building Wisdom and Ethics Into Financial Innovation Networks," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 118(3), pages 447-459, December.
    2. repec:spr:scient:v:94:y:2013:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-012-0776-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:spr:scient:v:88:y:2011:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-011-0380-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:spr:scient:v:112:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2378-y is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Fumi Kitagawa & Lorraine Warren & Stefanos Marangos, 2010. "Networks and Spatiality of University Incubators: Global and local links amongst SETsquared spinoff/ intra-firms at Universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey in England," Working Papers 2010R03, Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness.
    6. Peter Newton & Peter Newman, 2015. "Critical Connections: The Role of the Built Environment Sector in Delivering Green Cities and a Green Economy," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(7), pages 1-27, July.
    7. Malik, Tariq H., 2013. "National institutional differences and cross-border university–industry knowledge transfer," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 776-787.

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