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Why space matters in technological innovation systems – the global knowledge dynamics of membrane bioreactor technology

Author

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  • Binz , Christian

    () (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland)

  • Truffer , Bernhard

    () (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland)

  • Coenen , Lars

    () (CIRCLE, Lund University; Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU), Norway)

Abstract

Studies on technological innovation systems (TIS) often set spatial boundaries at the national level and treat supranational levels as a geographically undifferentiated and freely accessible global technological opportunity set. This article criticizes this conceptualization and proposes instead to analyze relevant actors, networks and processes in TIS from a relational perspective on space. It develops an analytical framework which allows investigating innovation processes (or ‘functions’) of a TIS at and across different spatial scales. Based on social network analysis of a co-publication dataset from membrane bioreactor technology, we illustrate how the spatial characteristics of collaborations in knowledge creation vary greatly over relatively short periods of time. This finding suggests that TIS studies should be more reflexive on system boundary setting both regarding the identification and analysis of core processes as well as in the formulation of policy advice.

Suggested Citation

  • Binz , Christian & Truffer , Bernhard & Coenen , Lars, 2013. "Why space matters in technological innovation systems – the global knowledge dynamics of membrane bioreactor technology," Papers in Innovation Studies 2013/11, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lucirc:2013_011
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    File URL: http://wp.circle.lu.se/upload/CIRCLE/workingpapers/201311_Binz_et_AL.pdf
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    Keywords

    technological innovation system; relational space; system functions; knowledge creation; social network analysis; membrane bioreactor technology;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation

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