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Øresund Bridge boosts science ranking

The bridge to Sweden has made Copenhagen a better place to do research, a geographer finds. Now all the city needs is a little more money

Christian Matthiessen knows for a fact that one DKK 30 billion piece of engineering is putting Copenhagen onto the scientific world map. Copenhagen was connected to Malmo, Sweden and the continent of Europe in 2000 by way of the Øresund Bridge.

His research shows that the more physical links cities have, the more successful research institutions will be overall. This is why Copenhagen nearly doubled its co-authored research papers when the Øresund Bridge was constructed, Matthiessen says.

»The more co-authorship with other research centres, the more accepted is the research,« he adds.

Ripe for research

This type of accepted research was one of the important qualities that Matthiessen factored into his study on world cities of scientific knowledge.

He and his team of researchers identified the world’s largest research centres and ranked them in by the amount of research they produce and calculated growth rates. They found that the more connected cities were with other cities and their research institutions, the better they ranked among a series of qualifications.

This can be explained by several qualities of physical closeness.

»First, serendipitous encounters are more likely when two actors are in close vicinity,« the study states. »Secondly, the needed face-to-face interaction comes at a cost related to distance. Thirdly, the rules of the game in the form of funding, labour market regimes, intellectual property rights and languages constrain interaction, in particular between nation-states.«

Copenhagen’s rank

As far as total research output, Copenhagen is still pretty harmless. Mattiessen classifies Copenhagen as a ‘neutral’ city for research output.

But Copenhagen has, and still is, increasing its citations per paper. Combined with Sweden, Copenhagen is twice as ‘important’ as a research institution, Matthiessen says.

How to make it to the top

It should be possible for Copenhagen to rank among top research cities such as Tokyo and London, Mattiessen says. Just as long as Copenhagen can hold onto funds and combine its resources better.

»It will take, as it will all over the world, more money and more cooperative policy in the regions between research parks, private business and universities. They should be working together,« he says.

To read Matthiessen’s study, click here.

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