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The Prince Edward Island Bioscience Cluster: Creating a Knowledge-Based Economy

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biotechnology management case

Steven Casper1, Juergen Krause2, and Adelee MacNevin2
1Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences; 2University of Prince Edward Island

Summary and key issue/decision: Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, with a population of under 140,000. Its economy, historically focused on agriculture, fisheries, and tourism, lags behind the rest of Canada. Starting in the late 1990s the PEI Provincial Government launched an ambitious plan to develop an internationally competitive biotechnology cluster. Choosing to focus on the bioactives and natural products segment of the industry, substantial investments were made in upgrading scientific capacities on the island and a variety of commercially oriented policies aimed at creating an infrastructure for start-up companies and attracting investments from existing bioscience companies. The case examines the processes by which biotechnology clusters emerge and become sustainable, and explores whether governments can successfully trigger cycles of industrial upgrading within technology clusters. The case ends with a decision of whether the PEI government should invest some CAN$30 million in the BioCommons Research Park, a technology park.

Companies/institutions: Prince Edward Island Provincial Government; PEI Bioalliance; Canadian National Research Council Institute for Health and Nutrition

Technology: Bioactives and natural products

Geography: Canada

Keywords: biotechnology clusters; technology policy; industrial upgrading; natural products and bioactives

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Building the Case for Biotechnology is published by Logos Press