Following the paper trail: the UK scientific and technological knowledge space and its reliance on international knowledge spillovers

May 18, 2023 7:16 am Published by

Knowledge is an essential ingredient for economic development, growth and gaining a competitive advantage. In order to produce novel and valuable knowledge, it is advantageous, perhaps vital, to rely on insights gained from prior research efforts. Those knowledge spillovers (KS) provide the rationale for sustained economic growth and produce unique place-based knowledge spaces. Due to the spatial embeddedness and stickiness of knowledge, most investigations mainly pay attention to the localized nature of KS, but what about those spillovers from other jurisdictions, or perhaps even from across the globe? To analyse the role played by international KS, the present study investigates to what extent international KS shape the evolution of the UK science and technology space. The first step involves creating knowledge spaces following the methodology outlined by Kogler et al. (2013; 2017) for the period 2006–15. Subsequently, we are following the paper trail of publications and patents developed by UK authors and inventors to depict to what degree international KS in specific science and technology domains have contributed to the production of novel knowledge in the UK. The results indicate that four out of five citations made in publications and patents in the UK are the works of authors and inventors residing elsewhere. This has important policy implications considering recent tendencies to curtail trade and the free movement of labour, all of which contribute to the diffusion of knowledge.

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