Characterizing and comparing innovation systems by different 'modes' of knowledge production: A proximity approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Though the concept of innovation systems has become influential in both academia and policy-making, an analytical approach to understanding innovation systems is still lacking. In particular, there is no analytical framework to measure 'Mode 1' and 'Mode 2' knowledge production. We propose a framework based on the proximity concept. Mode 1 and Mode 2 knowledge production are characterized by collaborations with cognitive, organizational, social, institutional and geographical proximity, and distance, respectively. Using a gravity model approach we apply our framework to the case of type 2 diabetes research and provide a characterization of the global innovation system and a comparative analysis of the North American and European innovation systems. Our main results hold that although collaborative research on type 2 diabetes generally follows a logic of proximity and hence is not characterized as Mode 2, important differences and similarities exist between the North American and European innovation systems.


  • Sjoerd Hardeman
  • Koen Frenken
  • Onder Nomaler
  • Anne L. J. Ter Wal
External organisations
  • Utrecht University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified


  • mode 2 knowledge production, collaboration, co-publication, diabetes, triple helix, network
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-548
JournalScience and Public Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch