Keywords: industry clusters, competitiveness, entrepreneurship, innovation, knowledge networks, proximity, regions, trade, pharmaceutical industry, research institutes, agro-food biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, university research, centres of excellence, transnational corporations, TNCs, multinational corporations, MNCs
How benchmarking can lever cluster competitiveness
New international trade theory postulates intra-industry trade as a major component. Regarding research as a traded item, this is complex as it can be both intra- and inter-industry trade, a problem for future industry classifications. However, research trade from university centres of excellence and research institutes is now a major feature of territorial competition. The example of this to be discussed, mainly theoretically, but with supporting evidence, relates to intra-factor translocation by transnational corporations (TNCs) in pharmaceutical and agro-food biotechnology. Whereas the prime mover in spatial structure became the TNC and its internal and international divisions of labour that created economic geography to a large extent, this had declined significantly by 2004 in pharmaceuticals though less so in agro-food. Now, in biopharmaceuticals, the prime mover is the key university, its research capabilities, specialist fund-attracting Centres of Excellence, and entrepreneurship in dedicated biotechnology firms (DBFs).