Regenerative medicine as an emergent cluster in Tampere Region

Tuomo Heinonen; Francisco Javier Ortega-Colomer
Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation (JEMI)

Clusters are important for regional economies and emergent clusters are in a key position, as a means of adding more diversification to the current economic activity by involving new technologies and industries. Science-based industries may be the most promising in this regard since they are encouraged to develop and enhance the economic imaginaries of territories under the umbrella of radical innovations or in the name of broadening the current economic model based on mostly traditional industries. Regenerative medicine (RM) could be an example of these so-called emergent clusters. Regenerative medicine is highly dependent on academic research, which means that local territories must fund the research in this field and, hence, they expect some returns as well. As territories do not typically have existing industries specifically in RM, these industries must emerge or expand from existing ones. Regenerative medicine involves a wide spectrum of different technologies and industries that are likely to form a cluster and benefit from it if successfully developed. The first aim of this paper is to show how some obstacles eventually impede the proper development of these emergent clusters. The second aim is to shed light on how innovations emerge in the cluster and what are the main implications for the territory. In this study, existing literature is used in order to describe the technology market and commercial aspects of the RM sector. Empirically this study is based on the emergent RM cluster in the region of Tampere in Finland. Analysis of 24 conducted interviews helps to contextualize the emergence of the RM cluster in Tampere, where academia is both the booster and the driver of the emergent RM cluster. Commercialization of research in the RM field is one of the goals at the university, even though there are no commercial outcomes yet available. This study contributes to the understanding of emergent cluster development in science-based industries in their embryonic and early stages. Major challenges are pointed out in an emergent cluster that calls for tailor-made socio-economic policies at the meso-level. Tailored policies matter in science-based clusters, and specific sectors in specific stages of development need specific policies in order to become matured clusters.