Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2013/11: Why space matters in technological innovation systems – the global knowledge dynamics of membrane bioreactor technology

Christian Binz (), Bernhard Truffer () and Lars Coenen ()
Additional contact information
Christian Binz: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland
Bernhard Truffer: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland
Lars Coenen: CIRCLE, Lund University; Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU), Norway, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: Studies on technological innovation systems (TIS) often set spatial boundaries at the national level and treat supranational levels as a geographically undifferentiated and freely accessible global technological opportunity set. This article criticizes this conceptualization and proposes instead to analyze relevant actors, networks and processes in TIS from a relational perspective on space. It develops an analytical framework which allows investigating innovation processes (or ‘functions’) of a TIS at and across different spatial scales. Based on social network analysis of a co-publication dataset from membrane bioreactor technology, we illustrate how the spatial characteristics of collaborations in knowledge creation vary greatly over relatively short periods of time. This finding suggests that TIS studies should be more reflexive on system boundary setting both regarding the identification and analysis of core processes as well as in the formulation of policy advice.

Keywords: technological innovation system; relational space; system functions; knowledge creation; social network analysis; membrane bioreactor technology

JEL-codes: O31; Q55

41 pages, March 16, 2013

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201311_Binz_et_AL.pdf PDF-file 

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