3American Innovation and Production Ecosystems

It is hard to create a general analysis of American clusters due to the number, diversity and complexity of the structures involved. However, the level of differences observed also encourages researchers to take a more abstract approach, with the aim of highlighting a certain number of characteristics that are common to the most dynamic clusters. A study carried out by Alcimed for the French Direction Générale des Entreprises [ALC 08] involved the selection of 74 clusters, sorted into groups according to eight different themes: biological/healthcare technologies, chemistry and materials, transport, ICT, energy and the environment, food and agriculture, nanotechnologies, and advanced manufacturing processes. The study offers the following definition of a cluster:

“The concentration, in a given geographical area, of a group of innovative and interconnected actors (industrial businesses, research organizations, higher education establishments and valorization structures) operating in a common domain. These actors have a shared vision of the dynamics of growth and development and take a partnership-based approach to knowledge transfer in order to promote innovation, generating competitive advantages” [ALC 08, p. 16].

Nevertheless, the authors specify that while their report highlights certain shared characteristics, this does not imply the existence of a “typical” American cluster. The examples of Silicon Valley and of Route 128, ...

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