Systemic Linkages Between Knowledge and the Market
New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Blandine Laperche, Dimitri Uzunidis and G. N. von Tunzelmann
Chapter 6: Theory and Practice in Knowledge Transfer: The Emergence of ‘Interface Structures’
Elena Castro-Martínez, Ignacio Fernández-deLucio and Jordi Molas-Gallart 1. BACKGROUND: DEFINING AND CHARACTERISING INTERFACE STRUCTURES The development of innovation systems approaches is closely connected with policy practice. Policy agencies in Scandinavian countries played an important role in their early development (Carlsson 2002). Later, the OECD contributed to the development of the approach and its diﬀusion among academics and policy-makers (Godin 2004). Our chapter is also rooted in practice. Based on the applied experience of existing organisations, we will deﬁne and characterise a new type of structure within an innovation system. Innovation systems approaches focus the attention of policy-makers on the existence of situations where the relationships between diﬀerent actors in the system are weak, and where divergent cultural traits and organisational practices pose a barrier to the collaboration and coordination among diﬀerent actors in a system (Polt et al. 2001). There has been abundant research studying these relationships, especially in areas like university– industry linkages where cultural diﬀerences and other barriers have hampered a ﬂuid relationship between the universities and their economic environment (Agrawal 2001; Carlsson et al. 2002; Carayol 2003). This literature is often normative, proposing policy instruments to overcome barriers and strengthen the interconnectedness of the system. Yet it usually takes as its subject the problems emerging in countries where there is both an advanced research and industrial infrastructure. Here cultural diﬀerences, managerial diﬃculties, and divergent interests, all pose barriers to technology transfer and other forms of relationship, but there...
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