Title of paper presented: “Oxford and Grenoble: knowledge organization in local development revisited”

Time: 15:00 to 16:30

Location: Room A 346- Ecully


This paper explores the divergence in patterns of regional development in twin towns, one in France and one in the UK. In the early 2000s the growth trajectories of two high tech regions Grenoble (France) and Oxfordshire (UK) were compared (Lawton Smith 2003). The focus was on national laboratories as territorial actors in the clustering of high tech firms. Building on the longitudinal data collected since 2003 the theme shifts in this study to the forms that government intervention takes through investments in knowledge organisations in high tech economies. It finds as a consequence, different forms of coordination (dyads) between key organisations are found.

Since the early 2000s, there have been a number of changes in national policies. These have had a direct effect on the dynamics of local technology-led economic development, particularly those which relate to inter-relationships (dyads) between the national laboratories and major local firms. We show that a major difference lies in the orchestration of research-based networking in Grenoble as a consequence of French cluster policy, whereas in Oxfordshire, the government’s direct role of funding the research base remains that of sustaining the engagement. Hence, different forms of coordination are found. In Grenoble, the clusters are information and project based, while in Oxfordshire, they are labour market dominated. The evolution of the clusters is identified. The importance of place is sustained over time but for different reasons. In the Oxfordshire region especially the focus of the network tie has evolved from knowledge transfer to high-skilled labour recruitment.