Cluster sustainability in Peripheral regions: Israel and Finland's Biotechnology Industry

Dr. Shiri Breznitz (School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)

CA118, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway 14:00 :: 16th February 2010

Shiri M. Breznitz's is an assistant professor at the School of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology. She joined the School of Public Policy after completing her Ph.D. in Economic Geography at the University of Cambridge. Her main interests are the role of the university, regional economic development, technology transfer, and the biotechnology industry. Dr. Breznitz conducts research on regional, national, and international level, and has just completed an international study comparing the Israeli and Finish Biotechnology Industry. This research was financially supported by both countries. As a guest editor of the Journal of Technology Transfer, Dr. Breznitz is in the process of completing a special issue on the Larger Role of the University in Regional Economic Development. Dr. Breznitz is affiliated with the MIT's Industrial Performance Center where she has been involved in both the Globalization and the Local Innovation Systems projects.

Summary of Seminar: Even with globalization, industrial clusters are maintaining their importance in today’s economy. With the decomposition of production we find that clusters are becoming focused on specific industries and stages of production. Through her research, Dr. Breznitz analyzes two peripheral western countries, Finland and Israel, which saw success in their ICT clusters and wanted to duplicate this success and build on their knowledge in the life science industry to create biotechnology clusters. Part of her research focuses on two innovation-based clusters, the biotechnology industry in Rehovot, Israel and Helsinki, Finland. These industrial districts consist of companies that are either devoted to early R&D (Israel), or choose to conduct every part of the product development (Finland), many of which are spun out of university research. Utilizing a multi-method study that includes both quantitative and qualitative research, with a series of in-depth interviews and site visits, archival and statistical data, her research investigates whether a cluster of young research companies can become the basis of industrial growth and bring economic sustainability to a region.

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