R&D networks and regional innovation: A social network analysis of joint research projects in Japan

Yutaka Yokura, Hiroshi Matsubara, Rolf Sternberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Globalisation and structural and demographic change are presenting Japan's economy and many regional economies with major challenges. In earlier decades, the international transfer of technology was an important factor in Japan's rise to become one of the leading industrialised nations. Today, however, the focus is on the interregional and intraregional transfer of technology between research institutions and private firms when addressing the issue of national and regional competitiveness. Regional innovation policies, in particular those under the responsibility of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and its regional bureaus, have for several years been making a great effort to promote the intraregional transfer of technology and business start-ups. This paper investigates the structure, the spatial reach and the innovation performance of R&D networks that have built up as part of a regional development programme financed by METI. A social network analysis is carried out using a unique data set of joint research projects of public research institutions, private firms and government institutions. The results show that the spatial patterns of R&D networks depend on the technical field of the research projects as well as on the role of the parties involved. Academia-academia cooperations have a much greater spatial reach than cooperations with private firms. The public sector plays an important role in local innovation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-503
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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