University-related science parks - 'seedbeds' or 'enclaves' of innovation?

Daniel Felsenstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


This paper examines the role of science parks as 'seedbeds' of innovation. Making the distinction between the spatial and the behavioural conceptions of the seedbed metaphor, the paper surveys the evidence related to the limited interaction effects between science park firms on the one hand and their neighbouring park firms, local universities and off-park firms on the other. This suggests that science parks might be functioning as 'enclaves' of innovation rather than seedbeds. This hypothesis is empirically tested on the basis of a survey of over 160 high-technology firms in Israel located both on and off-park. Specifically, the following questions are addressed: (1) are seedbed effects important inputs to a firm's innovation level? and (2) to what extent are these effects contingent on the physical proximity and clustering afforded by science park location? The results indicate that, first, seedbed effects, as indicated by level of interaction with a local university and the entrepreneur's educational background, are not necessarily related to the firm's innovative level; second, science park location is shown to have only a weak and indirect relationship with innovation level. It is proposed that the role of the science park is thus innovation-entrenching rather than innovation-inducing. The attraction of science park location could therefore be due to perceived status and prestige conferred rather than benefits in terms of technology transfer and information flow.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)93-110
Number of pages18
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1994


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