Public Research in Regional Networks of Innovators: A Comparative Study of Four East-German Regions
Universities and public research organizations are said to be an integrative and essential element of a functioning innovation system as they play a vital role not only in the generation of new technological knowledge, but also in its diffusion. We analyse four East German local networks of innovators which differ in structure and innovative performance and investigate the characteristic role of public research within these local systems by applying methods of social network analysis. Our results show that universities and non-university institutions of public research are key actors in all regional networks of innovators both in terms of patent output and in terms of centrality of their position in the networks. Further we find the 'thicker' networks to have more central public research organizations. Higher centrality of public research compared to private actors may be due to the fact that universities are explicitly designed to give away their knowledge and that they increasingly face the need to raise external funds.
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