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Recent Reports & Studies: Milken Institute: Blueprint for a High-Tech Cluster

August 18, 2000

Using the microsystems industry in the Southwest as a model, Ross DeVol, Director of Regional and Demographic Studies of the Milken Institute, has written Blueprint for a High-Tech Cluster, a 40-page policy brief on one of the hottest trends for tech-based economic development. Recognizing the importance of technology and knowledge in the New Economy, and that "knowledge is generated, transmitted and shared more efficiently in close proximity," DeVol asserts that those regions with leading clusters in key technologies will enjoy greater economic growth and stability. "Success in creating high-tech clusters is now the distinguishing determinant in regional vitality," states DeVol. 

Blueprint outlines and describes ten specific strategies for developing a high-tech cluster: 

  • "tech transfer policies should be made part of research facilities' charters 
  • create public/private organizations to foster commercialization success 
  • avoid competing spheres of influence 
  • team with related industries for joint-development 
  • invest state-controlled funds in venture capital pools 
  • educate wealthy local investors about the advantages of pooling resources to develop angel funds 
  • lifelong learning is essential for rapid skill set updates 
  • create entrepreneurial programs at universities and encourage business incubators 
  • communicate and promote the cluster strategy both inside and outside the region 
  • monitor cluster strategy objectives and goals on an on-going basis." (pp. vii-ix) 

The study was commissioned by Sandia National Labs. The complete report can be downloaded from the Milken Institute's web site: http://www.milkeninstitute.org