Technopolis pp 23-42 | Cite as

Regional Innovation and Cooperation among Industries, Universities, R&D Institutes, and Governments

  • Eberhard Becker
  • Bettina Burger
  • Thorsten Hülsmann


Globalization and regionalization seem like contradictory concepts. However, they present the framework for economic activity, innovation, and cooperation in our time. Under these circumstances, regions are, to an increasing extent, in an entrepreneurial position. They must compete among each other for: enterprises, investments, highly skilled personnel, and jobs. The extent to which a region is competitive depends on several factors, the most important of which are knowledge, social capital, networks, and supporting structures. These factors may be self-organized or government-based. In reality, there is no single recipe known that guarantees success in all cases. However, in view of the relevance of knowledge and learning, the cluster approach can offer an explanation as to why some regions manage to develop their knowledge-based industries more successfully than others. When we talk about globalization we have a new economic setting in mind, one in which profit-oriented multinational strategies of large business corporations lead to an international division of labor. The resulting post-Fordist concept of flexible production is comprised of a formation of independent units within large corporations. These units are integrated into regional networks, instead of being hierarchically sub-ordered into the centralized corporation. To local communities, this situation poses a challenge but also provides new opportunities concerning the task of directing their development to the advantage of the region. M. E. Porter (1990, 1998, 2000) is one of the prominent writers to draw attention to the relevance of regions in a globalized economy. The first part of this chapter gives greater insight into the concept of regional cluster development, its characteristics, and its meaning for regional policy. Very often, Science or Technology Parks are seen as a suitable means to form clusters of modern high technological industries. The second part deals with the example of the City of Dortmund, Germany, since the recent history of this city is a perfect example for successful regional development and the key ingredients involved. Special attention is given to the role of research and higher education within the structural policy that helped Dortmund to overcome a severe crisis. The technology park in Dortmund demonstrates how active cluster development can help improve the economic development of a region, thus improving its competitiveness and the life of its population.


Social Capital Financial Institution Regional Development Technology Center Cluster Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eberhard Becker
    • 1
  • Bettina Burger
    • 2
  • Thorsten Hülsmann
    • 3
  1. 1.TU Dortmund UniversityFakultät für MathematikDortmundGermany
  2. 2.TUMentrepreneurshipTechnische Universität MünchenMünchenGermany
  3. 3.EffizienzClusterLogistik RuhrMühlheim an der RuhrGermany

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