Eu-SPRI Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy series
Edited by Jakob Edler, Paul Cunningham, Abdullah Gök and Philip Shapira
Networks (as distinct from geographically co-located clusters) have become an important component of technology and innovation policy in several countries and at the supranational level. However, it has been noted that the issue of appropriate policies for network formation and development is not clear cut and that there is a need to clarify both their rationale and the available instruments for facilitating networking. The chapter focuses on the evaluation of network policies and their role and impact on innovation, particularly since innovation is now understood to depend on a variety of feedback loops within the context of the structured relationships that constitute the so-called innovation ecology. We examine the historical development of industrial network policies and their rationales, such as their later adoption by governments to address the policy goal of increasing the exchange of knowledge between actors in the public and private sectors. The range of typical policy instruments is examined and the challenges for their evaluation assessed, before proceeding to a review of the evidence arising from a number of important studies. We conclude with a number of general lessons concerning specific network characteristics from examples where particular policy models have been successful.
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