A Comparison of U.S. and European University-Industry Relations in the Life Sciences

Management Science, Vol. 48, No. 1, pp. 24-43, January 2002

Posted: 28 Nov 2007 Last revised: 5 Oct 2013

See all articles by Jason Owen-Smith

Jason Owen-Smith

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Fabio Pammolli

Polytechnic University of Milan - Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering; CERM Foundation

Massimo Riccaboni

KU Leuven - Department of Managerial Economics, Strategy, and Innovation; IMT Institute for Advanced Studies

Walter (Woody) W. Powell

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Abstract

We draw on diverse data sets to compare the institutional organization of upstream life science research across the United States and Europe. Understanding cross-national differences in the organization of innovative labor in the life sciences requires attention to the structure and evolution of biomedical networks involving public research organizations (universities, government laboratories, nonprofit research institutes, and research hospitals), science-based biotechnology firms, and multinational pharmaceutical corporations. We use network visualization methods and correspondence analyses to demonstrate that innovative research in biomedicine has its origins in regional clusters in the United States and in European nations. But the scientific and organizational composition of these regions varies in consequential ways. In the United States, public research organizations and small firms conduct R&D across multiple therapeutic areas and stages of the development process. Ties within and across these regions link small firms and diverse public institutions, contributing to the development of a robust national network. In contrast, the European story is one of regional specialization with a less diverse group of public research organizations working in a smaller number of therapeutic areas. European institutes develop local connections to small firms working on similar scientific problems, while cross-national linkages of European regional clusters typically involve large pharmaceutical corporations. We show that the roles of large and small firms differ in the United States and Europe, arguing that the greater heterogeneity of the U.S. system is based on much closer integration of basic science and clinical development.

Keywords: University-Industry Relations, National Innovation Systems, R&D Networks, Spatial Clustering, Network Visualization

Suggested Citation

Owen-Smith, Jason and Pammolli, Fabio and Riccaboni, Massimo and Powell, Walter (Woody) W., A Comparison of U.S. and European University-Industry Relations in the Life Sciences. Management Science, Vol. 48, No. 1, pp. 24-43, January 2002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1030024

Jason Owen-Smith

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI
United States

Fabio Pammolli (Contact Author)

Polytechnic University of Milan - Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering ( email )

Via Lambruschini 4C - building 26/A
Milano, 20156
Italy

CERM Foundation ( email )

Via Fiorentina, 1
Siena, Siena 53100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.cermlab.it

Massimo Riccaboni

KU Leuven - Department of Managerial Economics, Strategy, and Innovation ( email )

Naamsestraat 69 bus 3500
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

IMT Institute for Advanced Studies ( email )

Complesso San Micheletto
Lucca, 55100
Italy

Walter (Woody) W. Powell

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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