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Regional knowledge networks in the Dutch ICT services and life sciences sector. Anet Weterings & Roderik Ponds Netherlands Institute for Spatial Research The Hague, the Netherlands Paper prepared for the DIME-LIEE / NTUA Athens 2006 conference, 30 November – 1 December 2006.

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regional knowledge networks in the dutch ict services and life sciences sector

Regional knowledge networks in the Dutch ICT services and life sciences sector

Anet Weterings & Roderik Ponds

Netherlands Institute for Spatial Research

The Hague, the Netherlands

Paper prepared for the DIME-LIEE / NTUA Athens 2006 conference,

30 November – 1 December 2006

background of the study
Background of the study
  • Aim of Dutch Ministery of Economic Affairs (2004): to stimulate regional contacts between firms (mainly SMEs) and research institutes
  • Economic geography:
    • Localised knowledge networks with many regional contacts among organisations
    • Firms within those networks obtain more knowledge and therefore perform better
recent criticism
Recent criticism
  • Spatial proximity is not a necessary condition for knowledge transfer: are there regional knowledge networks?
  • More attention for heterogeneity among firms in the regional network:
    • Due to differences in power (mainly size of the firm)
    • Differences in the internal knowledge base
three research questions
Three research questions
  • Are there regional knowledge networks and what is the structure of those networks?
  • What type of firms use regional contacts to obtain knowledge?
  • To what extent is there a relation between the firm’s network position and it’s innovative performance?
outline empirical research
Outline empirical research
  • Two sectors: ICT services and life sciences
  • Three regions: South-Holland and Gelderland (life sciences) and the Middle of the Netherlands (ICT services)
  • Data collection through telephone survey (response 38-45%)
  • Social network analysis and regression analyses
measuring knowledge contacts
Measuring knowledge contacts
  • Question: Have you ever approached an organisation in the region when you were confronted with problems and has this helped to solve the problem?
  • Distinction between contacts for:
    • Technological knowledge
    • Organisational knowledge
  • ‘roster recall’ method: mention contacts on a list of names and add missing contacts
life sciences gelderland
Life Sciences - Gelderland

Technological

20 firms interviewed

Firms with contacts

Technological: 95%

Organisational: 35%

Organisational

life sciences zuid holland
Life Sciences – Zuid-Holland

Technological

38 firms interviewed

Firms with contacts

Technological: 68%

Organisational: 27%

Organisational

ict services middle country
ICT services – Middle country

Technological

135 firms interviewed

Firms with contacts

Technological: 48%

Organisational: 19%

Organisational

which firms have many regional knowledge contacts
Which firms have many regional knowledge contacts?

* p < 0.10

** p < 0.05

*** p < 0.01

measure innovative performance
Measure innovative performance
  • Different measures for the two sectors:
  • Life sciences: number of patents
  • ICT services: share of turnover due to the sales of new products or services between 2003 and 2006
in sum
In sum,
  • There are regional knowledge networks, but:
    • Not all firms are involved
    • Large differences between the technological and organisational knowledge
  • Characteristics of the firm are related to the firm’s network position
    • Size
    • Different indicators of absorptive capacity
  • Firm’s network position is not always related to the innovative performance of firms
future
Future
  • Characterising the regional network links (long-term contacts? How often face-to-face contacts?)
  • Spin-offs:
    • Comparing the knowledge network with structure of spin-off network
    • Examing the importance of labour mobility and educational networks for the establishment of regional knowledge networks