Building Innovative Ecosystems
Edited by John Sibley Butler and David V. Gibson
Chapter 3: Some UK Experience of Technology Transfer and Commercialization
3. Some UK experience of technology transfer and commercialization Robert Hodgson INTRODUCTION 1 In the debate about competitiveness in the global economy, Europe is sometimes characterized as continuing with old ideas with an emphasis on social capital in contrast to the United States with its emphasis on individual-oriented market-driven change. The United Kingdom, in relation to this characterization, perceives itself to be somewhere between the two with one foot in each camp – we are a little more open to change than the European norm, but not much, and we enjoy a little more continuity than the US norm, but not much. This position also applies in many regards to the UK experience with technology transfer and commercialization that is the focus of this chapter. Along with the EU and the so-called Lisbon agenda,1 the United Kingdom has recognized for some time that as a high-wage, highconsumption economy it needs to accelerate its adoption of new technologies to achieve productivity gains in its current activities and to build a strong position in terms of new and emerging economic sectors or clusters. The so-called ‘knowledge economy’ is therefore seen as crucial to the UK competitive future. Plus, perceived long-term weaknesses in linking highquality R&D, particularly in our leading universities and public research bodies, with product development and process improvement in the commercial world have to be addressed. An additional significant change in understanding in the field of innovation has been a move away from the simplistic characterization of the processes...
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