Embracing the Knowledge Economy

Embracing the Knowledge Economy

The Dynamic Transformation of the Finnish Innovation System

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Edited by Gerd Schienstock

In an astonishingly short period of time, Finland has developed into one of the world’s leading knowledge societies whilst retaining a comprehensive welfare state. The book traces this rapid transformation from a resource-based to a knowledge-based society. The authors describe the country’s strengths and weaknesses in the new economy and demonstrate how Finland has been able to catch-up with the leading industrial countries by exploiting new techno-organizational opportunities. Experts from different fields provide rich empirical material on Finnish industries, firms, regions and institutions, and the role they have played in the transformation process. The book also details the business and economic restructuring which was required, and explores new trends in the country's science, technology and innovation policy.

Chapter 10: Universities and science-industry relationships: Making a virtue out of necessity?

Mika Kautonen and Erkki Kaukonen

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy


Mika Nieminen and Erkki Kaukonen 10.1 INTRODUCTION The concepts of the knowledge society and the knowledge-based economy are currently dominating our understanding of socio-economic development. The significance of new innovations, as a factor creating competitiveness, sustainable economic growth and welfare, has emphasized also the significance of the knowledge production system. A central catchword for the new societal dynamics and accelerated knowledge production and utilization has been ‘networking’. Among other things, it has been assumed that knowledge is transferred effectively in networks and new ideas may flourish as different perspectives meet: networks not only support innovation systems but may induce innovations. (Edqvist 1997; Miettinen 2002; Schienstock and Hämäläinen 2001) In such networks traditional institutional boundaries among university research, governmental research institutes, and industrial research and development may also lose their earlier significance: constant reconfiguration of heterogeneous networks replaces strong institutional affiliations and transforms the whole basis of knowledge production. Knowledge is increasingly produced in the context of application and researchers become more like entrepreneurial actors in business networks. (Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff 1997; Gibbons et. al 1994; Nowotny et al. 2001; Slaughter and Leslie 1997) In studies of innovation attention has been primarily paid to knowledge transfer and utilization, and less to the mechanisms, conditions and actual developments in research and knowledge production. However, if scientific and technical research has such a central role in innovation systems, it would be important to know how knowledge production actually develops in the interaction among universities, government research institutes and industrial units...

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