Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 179: Industrial Research Institutes’ Collaboration: a three-way solution to integrating new research skills

Dzamila Bienkowska () and Katarina Larsen
Additional contact information
Dzamila Bienkowska: KTH and HELIX
Katarina Larsen: KTH

Abstract: Innovation processes in emerging fields of technology frequently utilize scientific knowledge and technical skills from several research areas. Likewise, technological development frequently involves a diverse set of organizations including for example private firms, universities, corporate research labs and public or semi-public research and technology organizations (RTOs). These processes spur the need for both organizational and institutional change and adjustment, e.g. in order to facilitate research and development (R&D) and formation of innovation networks. The main question analyzed in the paper is how RTOs cope with integrating new skills in their competence base in the quest for exploring new emerging science fields and technology applications. The empirical setting consists of Swedish semi-public industrial research institutes active in the fields of pulp & paper technology and electronics, optics & communication technology respectively. The results of the study bring attention to three ways of integrating diverse skills and types of actors in R&D networks. These are: organization of collaborative research in formalized industry-specific R&D programs, purposeful organizational change also including redefinition of categories of core research competence and finally by targeting ‘open’ innovation processes characterized by incorporation of both end-users and skills of neighboring technology areas.

Keywords: Industrial research institutes; Innovation networks; Emerging technology; RTOs; Collaborative R&D; Interdisciplinary; Innovation policy; management and organization; Sweden

JEL-codes: L20; L33; L52; L80; L84; O25; O31; O32; O38

30 pages, April 22, 2009

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