Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

The contribution of the social sciences to knowledge based development

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicola Thompson



This paper examines the rise of knowledge based development as a series of ideas about how to achieve economic and social growth. It begins by outlining the significance of the idea of knowledge as a form of capital, introducing major bodies of academic work that have sought to explain the relationship between knowledge production and regional development. It then analyses the European and UK policies developed on the assumption that the key to future economic success lies in the deployment of knowledge and the active incubation of knowledge intensive industries. Attention is then focused on one of the key institutions in knowledge based development – the University. The paper considers the impact on universities based on the extensive literature on their changing role and mission. The paper then concentrates on conceptualisations of knowledge in knowledge based development discourse. I argue that policy and academic literature alike is focused on the kinds of knowledge that can readily be turned into intellectual property particularly that which is patentable. In conclusion I argue that this leads to the relative neglect of certain kinds of knowledge especially the social sciences. These neglected areas need more sustained attention in order to develop more nuanced conceptions of the role of social science in knowledge based development.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Thompson N

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: Discussion Paper Series

Year: 2007

Pages: 16

Print publication date: 01/06/2007

Source Publication Date: June 2007

Report Number: 13

Institution: Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne