In our latest blog for the Life Sciences sector, V Formation’s Jose Gonzalez explores the notion of Bioclusters and how this way of working has a positive effect on local economies.
Collaborative working within Life Sciences research is a powerful tool for achieving ambitious goals, as highlighted in our earlier blog ‘Collaboration in drug discovery – we’re in this together’, which demonstrates what can be achieved by combining the knowledge and skills of researchers with common interests. This pulling-together of talented people has allowed us to accomplish challenging endeavours, from producing Penicillin to decoding our genetic information.
However, although these were ground-breaking accomplishments, they were undertaken across different locations around the world using processes that required years of work.
A similar approach can be adopted on a more localised scale, known as “clustering”. In 2000, Harvard’s Professor Michael Porter stated that “clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialised suppliers, service providers, firms in related industries, and associated institutions in a particular field that compete but also cooperate.”
The UK is known for some important Life Sciences clusters, known as “Bioclusters”. Nottingham has been described as an emerging Biocluster, largely thanks to BioCity. Other known Bioclusters can be found in Scotland, Cambridge, London and Oxford.
The benefits of Bioclusters
Economic and technological growth usually blossoms in regions where these clusters are found as they promote an economic boost through innovation. This phenomenon is derived from the different win-win benefits of clustering, such as:
- Specialised SMEs have access to skilled staff that inhabit the region, to suppliers of specific goods and services, and to information channels. All of these elements provide knowledge that can help increase their competitive edge.
- The regions hosting these clusters are likely to expand their offering to meet the arising needs; supply chains usually expand their scope in order to offer solutions to companies within the Biocluster.
- Competition within a localised area promotes innovation. Nowadays competition depends on productivity; by designing and implementing novel technologies and methods, a company obtains a competitive advantage that forces the rest of the cluster to pair up such efforts.
To summarise, clustering has a positive effect on local economies as it increases the productivity of the companies in the cluster, drives the pace and direction of innovation, and encourages the creation of new business, which expands and strengthens the cluster.