Seminar series  /  January 21, 2021, 4 p.m.

The role of large multinational firms (LMF) in the knowledge dynamics of Metropolitan Areas

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR) organize a joint seminar series at irregular intervals.

On January 21, 2021, Patricia Laurens, Antoine Schoen and Philippe Larédo will give the lecture “The role of large multinational firms (LMF) in the knowledge dynamics of Metropolitan Areas“. It starts at 4 p.m.


There has been extensive work about the role of universities and more widely public sector research. Numerous works have studied the relationship between start-up development and their urban/metropolitan environment, from clusters to creative cities.

However very few works have questioned the role of multinational firms. Work on multinational firms (and we have been part of this) has mostly focused on the internationalisation of their R&D activities, the factors and conditions that promote or hinder it. Here we reverse the focus and look at places. We focus on one output, patents and more specifically international patents, and look at the role that LMF play in the »production« of Metropolitan Areas.

We first show that LMF represent over 80% of all international patents produced worldwide. We demonstrate second that there is, as anticipated, a very skewed distribution of places, 100 Metropolitan Areas also gathering 80% of total production but that also LMF are present and play a central role in nearly all »inventing« Metropolitan Areas. A more refined analysis highlights the very distinct European situation where production is far more distributed with a core role of »mid-sized« Metropolitan Areas. Europe differs also widely from North America and Asia by the importance that non-national and non-European firms play in the production of Metropolitan Areas.


Patricia Laurens (CNRS), Antoine Schoen (Professor at UGE, ESIEE) and Philippe Larédo (also professor at the University of Manchester) are researchers at LISIS, Interdisciplinary institute on Science, Innovation and Societies, a mixed research unit between Université Gustave Eiffel, CNRS and INRAE. They have been working jointly on the internationalisation of large firms based upon two dataset developments: the RISIS patent database and the Corporate Invention Board. Both are part of the European distributed research infrastructure RISIS ( They also have developed activities on research and innovation policies, the dynamics of universities and the relations between knowledge production and territorial developments.