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The co-evolution of research institutes with universities and user needs: a historical perspective

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  • Magnus Gulbrandsen

    (Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo)

Abstract

Many countries have a sector of research institutes that have been set up to promote industrial growth and help with users’ problem solving. Not formally part of the higher education sector, research institutes are significantly less understood and studied than universities. This paper and analyses the co-evolution of institutes and industry and the co-evolution of institutes and universities in Norway, using the framework of Whitley (2002, 2003). It is shown that there seems to be a dominant collaborative approach to developing innovative competences in Norway to which the institutes have had to adapt. Long traditions for external R&D collaboration in Norwegian industry and a structure of small low-tech firms have led to the establishment of a set of industry-specific institutes, a development reinforced by periods of isolation from industry perspectives at the universities. Alternative approaches to developing innovative competences have largely failed. Despite a low level of reputational competition in the public science system, research institutes have nevertheless contributed to increasing the level of intellectual pluralism and flexibility, creating opportunities for combinations of academic work and applied problem-solving. With weaker policy co-ordination and convergence in the funding criteria for all public science, there may be a risk that research in this system becomes more fragmented and isolated.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo in its series Working Papers on Innovation Studies with number 20120321.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tik:inowpp:20120321

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  1. Etzkowitz, Henry & Leydesdorff, Loet, 2000. "The dynamics of innovation: from National Systems and "Mode 2" to a Triple Helix of university-industry-government relations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 109-123, February.
  2. Whitley, Richard, 2003. "Competition and pluralism in the public sciences: the impact of institutional frameworks on the organisation of academic science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1015-1029, June.
  3. Beise, Marian & Stahl, Harald, 1998. "Public research and industrial innovations in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 98-37, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Richard Whitley, 2002. "Developing innovative competences: the role of institutional frameworks," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 497-528, June.
  5. Tether, Bruce S. & Tajar, Abdelouahid, 2008. "Beyond industry-university links: Sourcing knowledge for innovation from consultants, private research organisations and the public science-base," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6-7), pages 1079-1095, July.
  6. Peters, Lois & Groenewegen, Peter & Fiebelkorn, Nico, 1998. "A comparison of networks between industry and public sector research in materials technology and biotechnology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 255-271, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Magnus Gulbrandsen, 2011. "Research institutes as hybrid organizations: central challenges to their legitimacy," Policy Sciences, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 215-230, September.

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