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Knowledge Flows in National Systems of Innovation

A Comparative Analysis of Sociotechnical Constituencies in Europe and Latin America

Edited by Roberto López-Martínez and Andrea Piccaluga

The search for the key to economic growth has proved elusive and contentious. This book uses new empirical evidence to propose an integrated approach for achieving strong industrial and technological capabilities to form the basis for regional and national economic development.
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Chapter 5: The role of the university inconstituency-building for industrial and territorial innovation: reflections on an Italian experience

Nicola Bellini and Andrea Piccaluga


5. The role of the university in constituency-building for industrial and territorial innovation: reflections on an Italian experience Nicola Bellini and Andrea Piccaluga INTRODUCTION1 Since the early 1980s universities have been experiencing profound changes, whose positive and negative consequences need accurate and continuous analyses. Alongside the traditional objective of university research, exploration, a new objective, exploitation in terms of industrial application, has increasingly gained importance, and a series of new difficulties, opportunities and threats, as well as institutional innovations, accompany the evolving situation. The objective of this chapter is to discuss the role of the university in industrial and territorial innovation. In the first two sections, the transition to the so-called ‘knowledge economy’ is described and emphasis is placed upon the role played by the university system. The third section specifically discusses the case of Italy in terms of actions and instruments. Finally, in the fourth section of the chapter, the analysis focuses on one specific experience, namely the Progetto Link, launched by the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. This case will be discussed as a relevant example of sociotechnical alignment within the constituency-building theoretical framework. 5.1 THE PRODUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE IN THE ‘KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY’ The emergence of what is extensively known as the knowledge economy, that is, the consolidation of a phase in the capitalist development in which competitive advantages are determined by the accumulation of knowledge and by their successful translation into innovative processes (with all the implica122 The role of the university – an Italian experience...

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