IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Beyond Regional Clusters: On the Importance of Geographical Proximity for R&D Collaborations in a Global Economy—the Case of the Flemish Biotech Sector


  • Andrea Monika Herrmann
  • Janne Louise Taks
  • Ellen Moors


When internal knowledge bases are insufficient for developing innovations, companies tend to collaborate with external R&D partners. According to a long-standing literature on “clusters”, “industrial districts”, “local production systems” and “regional innovation systems”, geographical proximity between innovation partners is considered a precondition for inter-organizational collaborations: proximity is said to facilitate trust, the transfer of tacit knowledge and the intensity of interactions. This article investigates the importance of geographical proximity for R&D collaborations between biotech firms and their innovation partners. Are geographically close innovation partners likely to collaborate more intensely? Studies of the Flemish biotech industry shed light on this question. Regression analyses combined with qualitative interview data reveal that geographical proximity has become less important for inter-organizational collaborations. Owing to lower communication and transportation costs, innovation partners can easily collaborate even when they are not situated close to each other. This leads us to conclude that globalization transforms inter-organizational collaborations.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Monika Herrmann & Janne Louise Taks & Ellen Moors, 2012. "Beyond Regional Clusters: On the Importance of Geographical Proximity for R&D Collaborations in a Global Economy—the Case of the Flemish Biotech Sector," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(6), pages 499-516, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:19:y:2012:i:6:p:499-516
    DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2012.718876

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Crouch, Colin & Gales, Patrick Le & Trigilia, Carlo & Voelzkow, Helmut, 2001. "Local Production Systems in Europe: Rise or Demise?," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199242511.
    2. Herrmann, Andrea M., 2008. "One Political Economy, One Competitive Strategy?: Comparing Pharmaceutical Firms in Germany, Italy, and the UK," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199543434.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Rune Dahl Fitjar & Franz Huber & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2016. "Not too close, not too far: testing the Goldilocks principle of ‘optimal’ distance in innovation networks," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(6), pages 465-487, August.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:19:y:2012:i:6:p:499-516. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.