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Emergence of Nanodistricts in the United States: Path Dependency or New Opportunities?
Economic Development Quarterly (2008)
  • Philip Shapira
  • Jan Youtie
Multiple economic development theories suggest that research and innovation in emerging technologies will cluster in certain locations rather then distributing equally among all regions. If this is the case, this distributional pattern has implications for where future economic opportunities as well as future risks will be concentrated. In this paper, we probe nanotechnology (hereafter nano) research and commercialization at a regional level. The study examines the top 30 US “nanodistricts” or metropolitan areas which lead in nanotechnology research activity over the 1990-2006 timeframe. We explore the factors underlying the emergence of these 30 metropolitan areas through exploratory cluster analysis. We find that while most of the leading nanodistricts are similar to top cities in previous rounds of emerging technologies, new geographic concentrations of nanotechnology research have surfaced. Several of the embryonic concentrations in nontraditional places for technology development have large concentrations of research at a single government laboratory or university research institution. This finding suggests that concentrated investments in nanotechnology R&D into a single institution can elevate the profile of a region that has lacked previous technological prominence. However, to increase the chances that nanotechnology R&D in these new locations will be commercialized in the region, policy initiatives should seek to encourage greater interaction with other institutions and companies to exploit nanotechnology-related knowledge.
  • Nanodistricts,
  • Clusters,
  • Regional Innovation,
  • Economic Development,
  • US,
  • United States
Publication Date
August, 2008
Citation Information
Philip Shapira and Jan Youtie. "Emergence of Nanodistricts in the United States: Path Dependency or New Opportunities?" Economic Development Quarterly 22.3 (2008): 187-199.