Linking competitiveness clusters with public higher education and research: the French puzzle

Abstract : The importance of proximity in the field of innovation has been highlighted, notably, in studies which emphasize the growing role of the third mission of the universities, namely, regional economic development. Using an empirical approach, we have attempted to gain an insight into the ways in which networks involving local economic and academic actors are created. This study focuses on France, where the State has recently promoted an aggressive policy designed to develop clusters and reform higher education and research, with a view to bringing together universities, creating centres of excellence, research networks at the local level and promoting connections of both to clusters. The study reveals the existence of a wide variety of configurations and, in spite of globally positive dynamics, highlights areas in which insufficiently well coordinated governmental approaches could be improved. The study also underlines a number of hitherto neglected aspects: a less global approach to institutions should be taken, and analyses of the variety of possible links between science and innovation should be more nuanced. Lastly, the study highlights a profound transformation in the approaches taken by governmental agencies.
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Philippe Lefebvre, Frédérique Pallez, Daniel Fixari. Linking competitiveness clusters with public higher education and research: the French puzzle. 2011. ⟨hal-00699879⟩

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