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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper

My Precious! The Location and Diffusion of Scientific Research: Evidence from the Synchrotron Diamond Light Source


We analyze the impact of the establishment of a GBP 380 million basic scientific research facility in the UK on the geographical distribution of related research. We investigate whether the siting of the Diamond Light Source, a 3rd generation synchrotron light source, in Oxfordshire induced a clustering of related research in its geographic proximity. To account for the potentially endogenous location choice of the synchrotron, we exploit the availability of a `runner-up' site near Manchester. We use both academic publications and patent data to trace the geographical distribution of related knowledge and innovation. Our results suggest that the siting of the synchrotron in Oxfordshire created a highly localized cluster of related scientific research.


Christian Helmers and Henry Overman

21 March 2013     Paper Number SERCDP0131

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This SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper is published under the centre's Urban programme.