The making of plasma medicine. Strategy driven clusters and the emerging roles of cluster management and government supervision
In this paper we discuss the new generation of German innovation clusters as a model that reflects the paradigm of a supervising and even entrepreneurial role of government. The model evolves alongside a predominant programmatic design that postulates strategy driven clusters or virtual regional organizations consisting out of research laboratories, university departments, and SME. The cluster design implicates the management of strategic implementation, alignments, and the settlement of conflicts as well as the enabling of trust formation. The findings outlined in this paper draw on action research and expert interviews, carried out at the German cluster Campus PlasmaMed 2008–2011 and with stakeholders. The analyzed cluster is funded by German Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF Innovation und State of the Art Research in the New Bundeslander which stands in the tradition of the Entrepreneurial Regions’ Program. The backbone of our research is the cluster’s strategy to develop the interdisciplinary science plasma medicine, a hybrid of low temperature plasma physics and life sciences and to market innovative PlasmaMed products. Innovation policies, programmatic designs, and evolving cluster management schemes are discussed regarding their significance in fostering the current cluster paradigm in German federal science policy. We outline the relevant factors for a transformation of trust-based scientific networks into strategy driven clusters or virtual organisations and provide new criteria for government intervention. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013
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