Abstract

This article argues that the notion of successful technology transfer is highly dependent on a region's ability to attract and retain star personnel to locations where global mobility is relatively common. Such regions also must provide professional as well as family-centered opportunities for the spouses of star personnel, if a globally mobile couple is to remain "in place" for an extended amount of time. One such region is the burgeoning world-class biotechnology sector found in Vancouver, British Columbia. Drawing upon the work of Richard Florida and Sir Peter Hall, this article explores the importance of recruiting efforts that move beyond attention on creative individuals to include his/her family. Based on the results from semi-structured interviews with executives, senior scientists, and human-resource managers at Vancouver-based biotechnology firms, this study finds that the primary factors that lured and retained international creative-class families (ICCFs) (both expatriate Canadian and foreign families) included, in particular, the availability of spousal work visas and professional employment options, as well as traditional livability attributes such as "family friendly" workplace policies, good public schools, access to affordable public universities, well-kept parks, a general feeling of public safety, and accessibility to outdoor activities. The decision to remain in Vancouver was usually made by the internationally highly skilled, biotechnology professional's spouse, as opposed to a unilateral decision made by the highly skilled (and seemingly highly mobile) biotechnology professional.

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