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Science and Technology Parks in the less favoured regions of Europe: An evaluation of their performance and the parameters of success.

Tsamis, Achilleas (2009) Science and Technology Parks in the less favoured regions of Europe: An evaluation of their performance and the parameters of success. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

Science and Technology Parks (STPs) have been promoted during the last 40 years by governments as key instruments to support innovation, technological development and economic growth. They were motivated by the success of places like the Silicon Valley and based on what theory identified as the positive role of physical proximity between R&D and production activity for knowledge exchange, technology transfer, synergies development and the creation of innovation. However, there is mixed empirical evidence in the literature regarding the success of STPs in technologically advanced countries and regions that cast doubts about their viability and their theoretical underpinnings. Yet despite this mixed evidence, governments and decision-makers have increasingly resorted to STPs as a means to promote innovation and growth in lagging European regions. This study examines this paradox by assessing the feasibility of creating successful STPs in lagging regions of the European Union (EU) and examines how the local regional context, their design and characteristics affect their performance. The analysis compares the innovation intensity, the linkages supporting knowledge and innovation creation, the formation of New Technology Based firms, and the broader regional impact of the STPs in four Parks located in four lagging regions of Southern Europe. The results support the initial hypothesis that lagging regions are not supportive environments for the creation of successful STPs. The Parks have remained primarily real-estate projects. They do concentrate R&D and innovative activity at levels above those of their regional context but linkages and knowledge and technology transfer remain largely absent and the NTBFs formation records poor. Their role in their regions' technological development is marginal, as most technologically advanced activities tend to remain disconnected from their local economy. A weak local technological base and the absence of genuine demand for the STPs' mechanisms and cooperation processes limit critically their impact. The comparison of the four cases reveals however that professional management structures, increased and dedicated public resources, the promoters' long-term commitment and their integration in broader regional innovation support strategies enhance the Parks' prospects of success.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2543

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