laboratories and major universities in the Boston area.4 In other cases, for example, Silicon Valley in California, multiple private industries interacting with a major university, and irrigated with substantial and sustained federal funding, created powerful developmental synergies.5 In contrast to the relatively spontaneous emergence of these innovation clusters, a third approach to the development of innovation clusters is through the deliberate co-location of creative activity within the concentrated geographical area, such as through a research park development. The Research Triangle Park in North Carolina is a widely cited example of such a created cluster.6

The perceived success of these and other U.S. innovation clusters has led to widespread interest in creating and encouraging the development of new clusters as a means of creating jobs and spurring competitiveness. To this end, local, regional and national governments around the world are implementing programs and policies to create, develop, and strengthen locally focused networks among businesses, universities, research and development organizations, and philanthropic foundations.7 A recent study by the Brookings Institution documents national cluster


4See National Research Council, Understanding Research, Science and Technology Research Parks: Global Best Practices, Charles W. Wessner, ed., Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.

5See AnnaLee Saxenian, Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994, p. 161. See also Martin Kenney, ed., Understanding Silicon Valley: The Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000. See also T. J. Sturgeon, “How Silicon Valley Came to Be” in M. Kenney (ed.), Understanding Silicon Valley: The Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region, op. cit., pp. 15-47. See also Margaret Pugh O’Hara, Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Science and the Search for the Next Silicon Valley, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.

6For a comprehensive history of the Research Triangle Cluster, see Albert N. Link, A Generosity of Spirit: The Early History of the Research Triangle Park, Research Triangle Park: The Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, 1995. For a seminal study of the research parks phenomenon, see, M. I. Luger and H. A. Goldstein, Technology in the Garden, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991, p. 5. For an update of this study, see M. I. Luger and H. A. Goldstein, Research Parks Redux: The Changing Landscape of the Garden, Washington, DC: U.S. Economic Development Administration, 2006.

7Robert Lucas has long argued that the clustering and density of talented people is a key driver of innovation and economic growth. See Robert Lucas, “On the mechanics of economic development,” Journal of Monetary Economics 22:38-39. Richard Florida has popularized the characteristics and economic advantages of innovative clusters. See, for example, Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class, New York: Basic Books, 2002.

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