Regional innovation systems and public policy: Ireland's medical technology cluster

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Public Policy for Regional Development, 2008, 1, pp. 66 - 88
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The regional dimension of innovation in a global competitive environment is attracting increased interest among both researchers and policy-makers as regional econo mies are recog nised as 'sites of the most advanced forms of economic development and innovation' (Storper, 2003: 580). This chapter examines the rece nt emergence of the highly successful med ical technology cluste r in Galway, Ireland - now the biggest conce ntration of medical technology employment in Europe - in the context of the growing literature on industrial cluste rs, its further evolution as systems of innovation and the related emphasis on the role and 'embeddedness' of FDI in these systems at a regional level. The literature would suggest that regions are ' synergy-laden' systems whose innovat ive activity and capacity are determined largely by ' the set of organisations and linkages present for the generation, diffusion and application of scientific and technological know ledge' (Ga lli and Teube l, 1997: 345) , which can pos ition, or reposition, regions on specific tech nolog ical trajec tor ies.
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