Since we’ve been talking about how clusters work, whether they work, and how to start one, it’s worth having a closer look at one of the most successful European examples. The so-called Silicon Fen, located around Cambridge University, has nurtured roughly 25% of all UK tech startups. Seven percent of all European venture capital is invested in Cambridge.
‘Can regional clusters be engineered
?’ is an intriguing case study authored by Professor William Webb, Head of H&D and Senior Technologist at Ofcom. The article appeared in Ingenia Online, the journal of Britain’s Royal Academy of Engineering.
I’m afraid the news is not too optimistic for those for those of us hoping for quick, tangible results. According to Webb, the Cambridge Cluster emerged organically, took 15 years to become noticeable and required a further ten years to become a well-established phenomenon. However, the article does identify a number of best practices which we can apply here in the Centrope region.
Preamble 1: Let’s make a complex matter simple. Efficient technology transfer depends on efficient partners, i.e. good universities and good companies.
Preamble 2: Austria’s national economy is no. 3 or 4 within the European Union, the country is one of Europe’s strongest exporters, one of CEE’s biggest investors, no. 1 in e-Government etc.
I am making these statements not to show off but to investigate a striking contradiction which has been bothering me for years. When it comes to international rankings which are related to high tech, science, education and similar issues, Austria’s ranking has regularly been as bad as can be.
Continue reading ‘Ranking Mania: Benchmarks, Universities & the National Economy’