High-tech Clusters, Innovation Capabilities and Technological Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Ireland


  • The authors would like to acknowledge the funding received in support of this research from the Irish Social Sciences Platform (ISSP) (funded under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions, administered by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)). In addition, the authors wish to acknowledge the funding received from the EU Marie Curie Actions Transfer of Knowledge Programme and the work of Dr Satyasiba Das and Oner Tulum.


Underpinned theoretically by the capabilities perspective, the purpose of this study is to identify capabilities in high-technology activity within the Irish economy. A deeper understanding of the capabilities that underscore the economy at present is needed to determine the strengths to build on and how they can be cultivated for future economic growth. In particular, this study focuses on the evolution of capabilities, both technological and those that are more intangible, such as managerial expertise and their source of development. The argument underpinning this study is that analysing industrial dynamics using aggregate data on employment, trade and numbers of firms in distinct sectors provides an incomplete picture. Such an approach fails to capture evolving technologies that may cross sectoral boundaries. Therefore, in this study, a unique methodological approach that uses an analysis of highly specified products and services produced in the economy is employed to identify high-tech capabilities. More specifically, the approach is applied to the case of medical technology activity in Ireland. The evolution and nature of capabilities is examined using an exploratory analysis of the medical technology cluster in the West of Ireland in particular.