Government, University and Business Linkages
New Horizons in Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Scott Shane
Chapter 4: Investing in the MEMS Regional Innovation Networks and the Commercialization Infrastructure of Older Industrial States
Michael Fogarty INTRODUCTION Virtually every state seeks to identify and support early-stage technologies that are believed to offer signiﬁcant economic development opportunities (Coburn, 1995). Ohio has identiﬁed and supported microelectrical mechanical systems (MEMS) as one such technology. (MEMS combines computation, sensing and actuation with miniaturization to make mechanical and electrical components.)1 This chapter uses the case of MEMS to illustrate the importance for a state or region of taking a ‘systems’ approach to guide investments in university research. By system, we mean ‘regional innovation system’, which includes the various components of a region’s innovation infrastructure that interact to transform university research, industry and federal lab R&D into new technology. It also includes the region’s commercialization infrastructure. Together the two components of a regional innovation system produce the speciﬁc innovations that create new companies and industries, generate a higher rate of productivity growth, and support a region’s rising standard of living. The analysis of the MEMS network (system) is dated. A surge in MEMS patenting began in about 1987 and has continued to the present. The patents we use to identify and examine the MEMS network cover the period 1985–95. However the underlying pattern identiﬁed in the chapter is not likely to have changed in any signiﬁcant way; places like Ohio that were far behind in the mid-1990s will still be far behind when 2005 data are available. Nevertheless, given the pace of change, it is possible that prospects for a niche within...
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