IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impact of Public Research Units on Regional Innovation Processes and Regional Economic Development


  • Martin T.W. Rosenfeld


  • Diana Roth



It is well-known today that innovation activities of private firms play a significant role for economic growth in less-developed regions. There are many studies on these interrelations and on explaining how regional innovation processes are working and which factors are important for them. However, some important questions have still not been completely answered by these studies. One of these questions is that of the role of public research units (PRU, which include publicly financed universities and research institutes) in the process of regional innovation. There have already been several studies on the economic impacts of selected PRU on economic growth. But it is not comprehensively answered so far to what extent the impact on economic growth of a PRU is concentrated on the region where the PRU itself is located. In other words: Whether the ”knowledge transfers offered by a PRU will have more effects on firms located nearby (at a small distance from the PRU) than on firms at other locations - or if other factors than spatial distance are more important for the decision of private firms to use knowledge transfers from certain PRU. The paper presents the results of a research project for answering this question for the case of the Halle region (= the southern part of the German Land Saxony-Anhalt). It is based on an empirical analysis (two postal surveys on PRU and on knowledge-based private firms) with a focus on the most important types of knowledge transfers. For those firms which are cooperating with PRU, if it is shown that spatial distance is an important factor, in the sense that firms which are located nearer to the PRU are cooperating more intensively with the PRU than firms which are located in other regions. But also important for the firms is the import of knowledge transfers from PRU which are located outside Saxony-Anhalt. With regard to the determining factors which are important for the spatial direction of knowledge transfers, it is shown that apart from spatial proximity, also various factors on the demand side may inhibit knowledge transfers. Therefore, for being effective, regional policy should also deal with the demand side (and not just with public research units) to create better conditions for knowledge transfers in structural weak regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin T.W. Rosenfeld & Diana Roth, 2004. "The Impact of Public Research Units on Regional Innovation Processes and Regional Economic Development," ERSA conference papers ersa04p160, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p160

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Franz, Peter & Rosenfeld, Martin T.W. & Roth, Diana, 2002. "Was bringt die Wissenschaft für die Wirtschaft in einer Region?," IWH Discussion Papers 163, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    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:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p160. 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: (Gunther Maier). 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.