Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 77 ›› Issue (12): 3104-3124.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202212011

• Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Regionalization of scientific and technological innovation in China:From the perspective of urban network

MA Haitao1,2(), HU Xiaqing1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2022-09-07 Revised:2022-11-02 Online:2022-12-25 Published:2022-12-29
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971209);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41571151);The Third Xinjiang Scientific Expedition Program(2021xjkk0900);National Social Science Foundation of China(21ZDA011)


Carrying out the functional regionalization of scientific and technological innovation in China is a basic work to grasp the overall configuration and guide the improvement of China's scientific and technological innovation capabilities. However, there are still large gaps in related research. Under the background of China's innovation-driven development strategy, the planning and construction of regional scientific and technological centers is considered an important task at present, which makes the functional regionalization of scientific and technological innovation in China urgently needed due to its guiding significance. From the perspective of intercity innovation cooperation network, combined with the existing geographical regionalization theories and innovation geography research, this paper devices a functional regionalization method for scientific and technological innovation in China by applying the dynamically contiguity-constrained hierarchical agglomerative clustering and the graph partitioning technology based on modularity. With the intercity patent cooperation data of 357 cities in China from 2017 to 2019 and their spatial contiguity data as an input, the topological relationship in the network space and the positional relationship in geographical space are combined to form regions covering continuous earth's surface which are tightly knit inside and show prominent regional characteristics in the scientific and technological innovation field. Based on the topological structure analysis of the urban network and the comparison between the regionalization results of the binary network and the weighted network, a regionalization scheme containing 4 first-level functional regions and 20 second-level functional regions is formulated. According to the regionalization, China is divided into four functional plates of scientific and technological innovation: north, south, east and west, each of which contains 4 to 6 secondary functional regions. The delimitation of scientific and technological innovation according to the regionalization results is highly consistent with the administrative divisions on the provincial level, providing reference for government to plan the overall management of scientific and technological innovation on macroscale. It is suggested that in the future, relying on the construction of the functional regions and the leadership of the regional central cities, all regions should formulate regional innovation and development strategies according to local conditions, and actively contribute to the implementation of the national innovation-driven development strategy.

Key words: geographical regionalization, sci-tech innovation, urban network, communication structure, patent cooperation, modularity, China