Economic Development Through Entrepreneurship

Economic Development Through Entrepreneurship

Government, University and Business Linkages

New Horizons in Entrepreneurship series

Edited by Scott Shane

Despite a wealth of efforts that examine separately the role entrepreneurs and universities play in economic development, no systematic effort has been made to examine the role universities play in promoting economic development through entrepreneurship. This book fills that gap, focusing on policy aspects of government–university partnerships with a discussion both of best practices and problematic strategies. The book begins by tracing the history of American government–university–industry partnerships that have promoted economic development. In succeeding chapters, well-known scholars focus on linkages in different domains such as: technology transfer, innovation networks, brain drain, cluster-based planning, and manufacturing. Practitioner commentaries follow many of the chapters in order to present an evaluation of the arguments from the perspective of someone directly involved in the fostering of these relationships.

Chapter 4: Investing in the MEMS Regional Innovation Networks and the Commercialization Infrastructure of Older Industrial States

Michael Fogarty and William Seelbach

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, economics and finance, industrial organisation


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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