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The socio-economic landscape of biotechnology in Spain: a comparative study using the innovation system concept

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 07:24 authored by V Diaz, E Munoz, J Espinosa de los Monteros, Jacqueline Senker
Biotechnology is becoming a crucial factor for the innovation strategies of the industrialised countries. Thus, the analysis of the sector is gaining relevance for the identification of the technological strength and potential of a country (or region) in a context of globalisation. A specific national case study may serve for more general comparative analyses. We have selected the case of Spain as illustrative of the complexity and differences existing in Europe. By using the analytical framework of the "national systems of innovation" concept, we have performed a multistep analysis of the biotechnology sector in Spain, focussing first on the regions of Madrid and Cataluña which together account for more than 50 per cent of the sector in Spain. The firms in both regions have followed a common strategy based on diversification and investment in R&D and innovation so as to be able to compete in an international and competitive environment. There are however some interesting differences between the two subsectors, the one from Cataluña being more based on industrial traditions, and the one from Madrid characterised by the emergence of more specialised firms. The study has been extended to the remainder of Spanish firms for comparative purposes. The case of Spain is illustrative of the divergences existing in the biotechnology sector in Europe. A comparison is made with the structural and organisational characteristics of the biotechnology sector in several European countries. It shows that there is diversity in the pattern of commercialisation between countries and within regions of countries. Understanding these differences may assist the design of appropriate policies to promote the development of biotechnology in Europe.


Publication status

  • Published


Journal of Biotechnology









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Department affiliated with

  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Publications


The paper provides an empirically-oriented survey of biotechnology in the regions of Spain. Dr Senker, as the only non-Spanish co-author, contributes the analytical framework of national and regional systems of innovation, amounting to 25% of the overall effort.

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