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Influencing regional development policy:

reflections on the ‘cluster experience’

Paul Benneworth, University of Newcastle
upon Tyne

Norwegian Regional Researchers network

Molde, Norway, 14
th

May 2003

Acknowledgements


Writing funders:


ESRC Fellowship T026271370


http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/p.s.benneworth/test.htm


CURDS


http://www.ncl.ac.uk/curds/


Copyright holders/ IP originators


Professor Gammels
æ
ter


Introduction


Academics and policy makers


new
opportunities?


How clusters conquered the world


four
stories


Clusters as a ‘policy phenomenon’


Critical reflections and lessons for academics

Ivory towers and linear models


Academics as a monastic community


Policy making models


rational, synoptic


The policy
-
making cycle

The policy cycle


Party

Political logic


Decision to
use clusters

Bureaucratic logic

Choice of
sectors

Policy tools
for clustering

Implementing
clusters

Evaluating
cluster polices

Policy tool kit
decisions

New cluster
policy cycle

Source: after Hogwood, 1987, p.12; Charles & Benneworth, 2001.

Ivory towers and linear models


Academics as a monastic community


Policy making models


rational, synoptic


The policy
-
making cycle


Policy
-
makers as sophisticated users of
academics for discrete tasks

The linear ‘policy process’


Clearly defined roles (porosity?)


Universities as a source of


Technological developments


Training a scientific
-
policy cadre


Formal experts, witnesses, commissioners

BUT

“problems arose in my experience, when [CURDS], became involved too closely in
the local industrial scene, since its staff were chosen for their academic qualities
rather than their business experience” (Loebl, 2001)



New forms of knowledge production …

… new forms of policy influence?


Observations of complex university relationships


“New forms of knowledge production” ?


“Mode 2”


Gibbons et al, 1994


“Triple Helix”


Etzkowitz & Leyesdorff, 2000.

Implications for the policy process


Changing role of government


Stoking the boiler


hand on the tiller


Authoritarian neoliberalism


Government


Governance, policy networks


The end of ideology, new managerialism


New demands for policy knowledge


Regulation and market


making


The success of 3G auctions
-

an academic idea


New landscapes for policy advisors


Competing with other knowledge
communities …


Special interests and lobbyists


Consultants


Peri
-
academic intelligensia


Lay/ public understanding/ knowledge/ attitudes


Interactive knowledge generation


Evidence
-
based policy
-
making

Implications for individual academics


Greater opportunity to shape policy (?)


New career demands


third strand


Risk of influencing delivery not philosophy


What does not get funded, does not get said?

The caveats … (not just clusters)


Typology is landscape not process model


Typology and assumptions embody power


Strong political reasons for adopting positions


Need to reflect critically on the underlying
power architecture in this new situation

How clusters conquered the world


Story I


Porter as ‘Prophet’


Story II


Porter as ‘Guru’


Story III


Porter as ‘Trojan Horse’


Story IV


Porter as ‘Debater’

Note on the ‘story’ approach


Stereotype/ synthetic


Not models of what people do/say


Unintended negative connotations


Winners and losers in discourse

Story I


Porter as ‘Prophet’


‘Porter is clusters’


a received wisdom


Clusters defined in core texts (1990, 1998)


Force of argument, weight of evidence


No direct link back to antecedent theories



Danish mega
-
clusters

Story II


Porter as ‘Guru’


‘Clusters as an idea whose time has come’


1990s devolution and new industrial policies


Territories as laboratories for Porter’s ideas


Porter as a source of new ideas for territories



Alliance between Porter and 4(+) places

Scotland


perfect vs pragmatic

‘Monitor’ Analysis

Pilots

2nd Wave

Biotechnology

Energy

Food

Drink

Information
Industries

Value Added Eng.

Multi
-
Media

Tourism

Textiles

Chemicals

Educational
Services

Financial Services

Forest products

Biotechnology


Food and Drink


Semiconductors


Oil & Gas

Optoelectronics


Creative Industries


Tourism


Forest Industries

Identification criteria:


Significant growth prospects


Scottish capability/potential


Partner willingness/demand


SE could add something

Source: Munro, 2000

Flanders


useful idea

Story III


Porter as ‘Trojan
Horse’


‘Everything’s got a clusters badge these days’


Clusters as more politically than economically
useful


“We are making our sectors into clusters”


Academics implicated in this (‘scientific
fraud’?)

Life science clusters in England?

RDA


Sector


How

identified


AWM


Medical

technology

Instruments,

materials

&

telemedicine


RES

‘cluster’


EEDA


Life

sciences



Key

industry

sector

group


EMDA


Healthcare


RES

Pathfinder

to

prosperity


NWDA


Pharmaceuticals

&

biotechnology

Medical

instruments


RES

‘cluster’


ONE


Life

sciences


RES

‘cluster’


SEEDA


Pharmaceutical,

biotech

&

healthcare





SWRDA


Biotechnology



RES

encouragement


YF


Bioscience

Medical

Equipment


Regional

Innovation

Strategy

Groups


Source
:

Charles

&

Benneworth,

2001


Story IV


Porter as ‘Debater’


Contributions to the academic debate


Porter as partly academic


Porter/ clusters and the ease of policy
-
maker
engagement


Tempus mutantur

… Scotland, Flanders,
Denmark, UK

Clusters in UK policy debates


DETR


“planning for clusters”


DTI


Motorsports Valley, Biotechnology,
RDA clusters



Different rules of evidence, different
assumptions … (even within DTI)

Creating new opportunities to
shape policy?


How many ‘Porter’s? Porter in practice


Circuits of dissemination and translation


Filling in the paradigm


Clusters about a cheap/ visible policy!

Delivery or philosophy?


Academics widely involved in clusters


Consultants as academics


academics as consultants


Making post hoc sense of clusters


Clusters as an evolving philosophy


Academics as holders of bad memories

New demands on academics?


The importance of the ‘landmarks of
academia’


Third
-
strand and policy
-
maker communication


Academic vs policy clusters


The nature of the interchange



Multiple roles for ‘academics’

The issue of communication


Clusters bringing policy/ academics closer?


The role of consultants as exemplars


Dynamics vs statics


projects vs intrinsic


Co
-
evolution of knowledge


Internal dynamics of ‘academics’


A risk/ opportunity calculus?


Clear risks of simplistic approach


‘science = good, consultancy = bad’


Continued importance of communal practices


Policy makers legitimation needs


Perverted science?


Nothing more than the odd Ilena Ceacescu moment


What not asked? Subtler


foregone opportunities

Reflecting on the landscape

Competing with other knowledge communities?

… or enacting roles in other knowledge
communities?

Interactive knowledge generation?

… or providing an institutional memory for effective
analysis and critique?

Evidence
-
based policy
-
making?

… or helping to shape what counts as ‘evidence’?




Clusters and policy process (I)


Rise of clusters as an ‘ordinary event’


Policy makers funded ‘Mode 2 science’


Paradigms vs. subtle critique


the devil
was

in the detail

Clusters and policy process (II)


Question of policy in clusters policy


Contrast with FP VI, ERA etc.


Clusters as return to ‘technical community’?


Norms facilitate shaping and influence


The things which were not said …


Risks of overclaiming


Voluntary and community clusters …


Clusters and the new ‘trickle
-
down’?

Supporting policy in ‘Mode 2’


The cluster ‘moment’ vs. ongoing armistice


Training a technical community is mode 1


Bureaucrats are not politicians


Policy networks, allies and negotiation is different to
peer review


Long term shifts in understanding


UK IDCs.


The renaissance academic with many hats?