Knowledge collaboration and proximity - The spatial organization of biotech innovation projects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article addresses the role of proximity for knowledge collaboration between dedicated biotechnology firms (DBFs) and related actors. Innovation projects managed by a selection of eight Swedish DBFs are analysed in detail and classified with regard to their specific knowledge characteristics. Based on this classification, explanations to the relative importance of functional and relational proximity to collaborators are sought. The findings indicate that knowledge collaboration in projects characterized by embodied knowledge are more sensitive to functional proximity than projects characterized by embrained and encoded knowledge. The findings also indicate that even though functional proximity is facilitative, global knowledge collaboration is indispensable for most DBFs. The convenience of local collaboration can never replace the extreme requirements of specialized knowledge, which forces them to seek collaborators on a global arena despite the impediments they face in these situations. Policy resources aimed at promoting bioregions are therefore better used to enhance local resources and to provide conditions for DBFs to link up with global sources of knowledge rather than to boost the formation of 'second best' local networks.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Human Geography
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • projects, innovation, knowledge, biotechnology, proximity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-131
JournalEuropean Urban and Regional Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch