Biomaterials Innovation
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Biomaterials Innovation

Bundling Technologies and Life

Alexander Styhre

Rapid advances in the life sciences means that there is now a far more detailed understanding of biological systems on the cellular, molecular and genetic levels. Sited at the intersection between the life sciences, the engineering sciences and the design sciences, innovations in the biomaterials industry are expected to garner increasing attention and play a key role in future development. This book examines the biomaterials innovations taking place in corporations and in academic research settings today.
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Chapter 4: Shifting institutional logics in biomaterials companies

Alexander Styhre


Universities are increasingly considered as ‘economic engines’ (Berman, 2012b), sites where knowledge production and commercial opportunities are co-produced. Since the mid-1970s, the sciences have undergone a significant shift from being a common good that supplies knowledge and education to an enterprising agent in its own right. The number of registered patents derived from university-based research has grown since the 1960s and today new patents are in many cases a key performance indicator for a variety of research settings. In the field of biomaterials and medical devices innovation, the close connections between university and industry have been more pronounced. First of all, new directives issued by the EU regulate in greater detail the development of biomaterials and medical devices. In addition, biomaterials and medical devices are increasingly combined with pharmaceuticals that are regulated by another directive, and therefore there are higher demands for, for example, clinical data on such new products as combinations of, say, biomaterials and pharmaceuticals. In this chapter, recent and ongoing changes in the field of biomaterials and medical devices innovation is examined as what institutional theorists speak of as a shift in institutional logic, from a more traditional ‘product development logic’ to a ‘science-based innovation logic’ more closely associated with basic academic research work.

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