An Investigation into Biotech Clusters


Thomas Vanderstichele. Working Paper. “An Investigation into Biotech Clusters”.


The Oxford biotech cluster is considered one of the most mature clusters in Europe with a significant number of its companies surviving through the early high-risk years. But the visibility of many companies in the cluster and their ties to the students of the university remains poor. Among both students and academics an entrepreneurial atmosphere has failed to develop, despite several high-profile success stories. Therefore, although Oxford conducts world leading biotechnology research, the cluster lags behind its American counterparts in Boston, San Diego and San Francisco. One factor that is critical for cluster development is a high-density network of multidisciplinary expertise, which fosters the creation of new ideas. For this reason, I am investigating the impact of networks and community organisation on the development of the Oxford biotech cluster. In the first part of my research, I will investigate cluster organisation and development in a variety of examples with the aim of extracting successful network development models. In the second part, I aim to implement one of these models and investigate its effect on cluster development. This will be achieved through the Oxford University Biotech Society, which aims to inspire a new generation of biotech entrepreneurs and create deeper social ties between students, academics and industry. This newfound society should place me at the centre of a new multidisciplinary network within the cluster, allowing a direct evaluation of the network development model.