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Translating Breakthroughs in Genetics into Biomedical Innovation: The Case of UK Genetic Knowledge Parks

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Scientific breakthroughs such as the sequencing of the human genome could drastically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of medical practice in terms of the delivery of new treatments and services. However, the rate of development of new treatments and services is sluggish and overall the rate of innovation in the biomedical sector is deteriorating. In this paper some of the political and practical problems surrounding knowledge integration for biomedical innovation are explored which may serve to illustrate why this may be the case. Specifically, the paper analyses the underlying rationale and political dynamics surrounding the implementation in 2002 of a novel UK government-funded genetics initiative and considers why this initiative may have actually impeded the development of biomedical innovations in this field because it led to disruption of the UK genetics community. This is somewhat ironic as the initiative - the creation of regionally based Genetic Knowledge Parks (GKPs) - was an explicit policy measure aimed at developing multi-disciplinary forums to integrate new genetics and genomics knowledge with existing scientific knowledge in order to develop new treatments and services. The paper focuses on the UK government's political rationale for launching this initiative, the bidding and funding process that followed, and some of the largely unintended outcomes that emerged.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Business, Environment & Society, Coventry University, Coventry, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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