|dc.description.abstract||Clusters are a key focus of policy makers worldwide. A successful cluster is often
characterised as a 'jig-saw' puzzle (Martin and Sunley, 2002) containing a range of actors
(e.g., private firms, research institutes, civic associations, government entities and
venture capital firms) and functions (e.g., research and development, services, high
quality personnel, finance and networking).
The objective of this study is to define and analyse the Saskatoon agricultural
biotechnology cluster using new metrics related to functions and assess its capacity to
become a broader life science cluster. To do this, the study (1) determines the density of
Saskatoon's agricultural biotechnology cluster, (2) examines whether 'innovative'
organisations can be determined prior to becoming 'innovative,' and (3) evaluates
whether any of the core or central actors in the cluster supply differential functions to
This study first surveyed core actors in Saskatoon to determine their connections with
other actors in the industry (within 100 km). This revealed a network density of 15.0%,
which supports the assertion that an ag-biotech cluster exists in Saskatoon. 'When the
data were disaggregated by function, we discovered that networking had the highest
density of all five functions, which suggests that the local cluster is still in the
Innovation Stage of industrial development (Lundvall, 1992). Second, when 'innovative'
and 'non-innovative' finns were compared, there was no statistically significant
externally visible characteristic that would allow anyone ex ante to distinguish between
'innovative' and 'non-innovative' enterprises. Third, Saskatoon's central actors were
examined to determine whether they provide differential functions to 'innovative' firms.
Only three central actors were significantly linked to supporting highly 'innovative'
firms: NRC-IRAP is connected for the provision of research and development; AgWest
Biotech is correlated for financial exchanges; and NRC-PBI is significantly
offering differential networking services to 'innovative' firms.
The study then uses this analysis to infer that the suitable environment - the
infrastructure, education programs, community leaders, central actors and government
focus - is in place in order to facilitate the extension of the agricultural biotechnology
cluster to a broader life science focus, but that existing institutions may need to shift
their offerings to ensure they support innovative activity in this new area.||en_US