Barcelona Field Studies Centre

High Tech Industry Location Factors

Case Study: Synchrotron, Parc Tecnològic del Vallès

Pleasant working environment


Access to good workforce


Available sites


Proximity to other high-tech firms


Supportive local authorities


University/polytechnic links


Locational factors in high-tech industry (Source: Gripaios, 1989)

  • The Synchrotron has knowledge as its raw material. These High-tech knowledge labour skills tend to be narrowly concentrated in El Vallès, where a Science and Technology incubator Park (Parc Tecnològic del Vallès) has been developed and the nearby university specialises in turning out students with applied science skills. The success of any high-tech enterprise depends on its ability to recruit and keep highly skilled research scientists, engineers and technicians.

  •  The government has invested heavily in support infrastructure, including a new materials training institute, University Department of Artificial Intelligence Research and Calibration and Research laboratories.

  •  High-tech employees are often very selective when it comes to where they are prepared to live and work. An environmentally attractive location (good climate, landscape, housing, services, etc.) is essential to hiring the right kind of labour (see Table above). Companies must therefore go to where workers want to live. In Europe, it is increasingly the Mediterranean Riviera sunbelt.

  • High-tech industries require an area that can offer excellent leisure facilities. There are high quality leisure amenities in the area, including nearby Natural Parks, golf courses, etc.

  • Large areas of low-cost greenfield sites

  • As new high-tech firms locate in areas where high-tech labour skills are available, they encourage yet further clustering and agglomeration through links with suppliers and services and 'spin-off' start-ups from established incubator firms.

  • High-tech industries require an excellent communications network. El Vallès has a highly accessible location with road (A7 motorway), rail, port and airport links: 14 km from the centre of Barcelona, 25 km from the airport and 15 km from the Mediterranean beaches.

  • Hotels have been constructed in the area which offer conference facilities and cater for company executives, many of whom work for TNCs.

  • Prestige location.

El Vallès Science Park Location Map
Barcelona synchrotron location