BCNED Reading Databank - Support to Cluster Research

As part of the initial project on cluster research, the BCNED group aimed to develop a research support infrastructure which can address some of the theoretical questions and to stimulate future cluster analysis and cluster development. An exclusive databank with publications and research papers was developed.



Fig 1. Domains of cluster research  
	  <p class=The databank comprises of selected articles from over 130 academic journals and a number of research papers available online from key research centres that specialise in research on clusters, industrial organisation and regional economic development. Overall the databank consists of over 2,000 publications, organised in a conceptual map.

The main categories that represent the development of the field are: cluster theory, cluster methodology, cluster and industry policies, national innovation systems and policies, industrial clusters, regional geographic clusters, global clusters, and clusters of small and medium size firms (SME clusters) (Fig. 1). .

As cluster development is very much policy driven, a large number of publications reflect various policy agendas, such as: cluster and industry policies, the development of science parks and centres of excellence, university research and university-industry collaboration, research and development and technology partnerships, technology management and knowledge management across firms, and the process of learning and knowledge acquisition – in firms and in clusters. In addition, a number of empirical research reports and evidence from a range of industry-specific clusters were assembled. Among the most researched clusters are: the biotechnology and bio-science, pharmaceuticals, automotive, electronics, software and the information technologies, the telecommunications, food and agro-business, and the media and broadcasting clusters.

Fig. 2. Cluster theory domain

The work that contributes directly to cluster theory spreads across a wide set of issues, including: agglomeration, location and proximity; cluster and sector dynamics;

Industry analysis and organisation; competition and cluster competitiveness; economic growth; regional and urban development; co-evolution of firms in clusters; spillover effect in clusters; inter-firm coordination and synergies from inter-firm relations; absorptive capacity of firms; competences and capabilities shared within clusters; cluster boundaries; strategic groups; and inter-organisational relations such as alliances, partnerships and networks – as conceptualised by the organisation theory of the firm (Fig 2.).

Substantial work has been accumulated on investigation of the Triple Helix Relationships and their impact on innovation and economic growth. Triple Helix relationships are formed between the Government, the Industry and the University sector, where the grassroots of innovation lie.

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Fig 3: 'Triple Helix' theory domain

This field covers comparative research on National Innovation Systems; Governance and Intermediation of research and development projects; Business Support, Research Support and University-Industry interactions; Managing the University sector and the implementation of new models for R&D partnerships and alliances.

The field is broadly described in Fig. 3. Additional support to cluster research comes also from statistical data related to clusters and regional economic development. These were collected from various data sources: UK Statistics Office, OECD, Interdepartmental Business Register (IDBR), National Online Manpower Information System (NOMIS) and various trade information sources.

These sources contain valuable secondary data to assist research on cluster depth and dynamics. All these resources are available for a wider research investigation that aims to look at the nature of clusters, the drivers behind agglomeration economies, and the impact of clusters on local economic development.


The diagram links to a cluster theme download of a reading list in pdf format.