Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2012/9: The European Spallation Source (ESS)and the geography of innovation

Josephine V. Rekers ()
Additional contact information
Josephine V. Rekers: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: The design and construction of ESS is portrayed as an enormous injection of scientific infrastructure in the (innovation-based) economy of Lund, Skåne and the Øresund region. Innovation processes are however, inherently uncertain, unanticipated and non-linear, where investments do not directly and predictably lead to successful outputs. This chapter presents the theoretical underpinnings of localized knowledge spillovers, and demonstrates that the prospected local benefits associated with ESS are tied to the degree of embeddedness of the facility in regional knowledge networks that facilitate localized learning. This future scenario is challenged by the level of absorptive capacity of university and industry partners in the region, the presence of institutions that support an innovative milieu, and the multiplicity of ambitions set for ESS by the local, multi-national and global bodies. If actors in the regional economy are to take advantage of the opportunity that is associated with the technical design and construction of ESS in Lund, organizational and institutional features of an innovation milieu need to be prioritized.

Keywords: Large research facilities; big science; agglomeration economies; knowledge spillovers; European Spallation Source (ESS)

JEL-codes: O31; R11

14 pages, October 2, 2012

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