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Science, the State, and the CityBritain's Struggle to Succeed in Biotechnology$
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Geoffrey Owen and Michael M. Hopkins

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728009

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728009.001.0001

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Learning from the US

Learning from the US

An International Comparison

(p.142) 6 Learning from the US
Science, the State, and the City

Geoffrey Owen

Michael M. Hopkins

Oxford University Press

In the early 1980s, five countries appeared the most likely to pose a competitive threat to the US in the biotech field: the UK, Japan, Germany, France, and Switzerland. This chapter looks at the last four countries in this list. It highlights the extent to which some of them—Japan and Germany in particular—were held back by long-established institutions and attitudes which were difficult to change. This applied to the lack of funding for small, entrepreneurial firms, career structures in universities which discouraged scientists from starting their own businesses, and the reliance on large, established companies as the principal source of innovation. Substantial reforms have been carried out in the last 20 years but key differences in national innovation ecosystems remain that make imitation of the US successes difficult. The role of the European Union in addressing some of these gaps is explored.

Keywords:   France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, European Union, institutions, universities, venture capital, government, stock market

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