Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research

No 2023/5: Seizing the window of opportunity? The Swedish public innovation system’s support to private business in the early Covid-19 pandemic

Tobias Fridholm ()
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Tobias Fridholm: Jönköping International Business School, Postal: Sweden

Abstract: This paper investigates the Swedish public innovation system’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020 in terms of initiatives targeting private business. It is based on a review of the websites of 181 major national and regional organisations in the Swedish public innovation system. A total of 208 initiatives were observed. The study shows that almost all national agencies and regional councils responded, but among more specialised organisations the response was scattered. The responses were on general rather swift, and most of them concerned short-term crisis management. Initiatives to build long-term strength, e.g. re-skilling or platforms for potentially more radical renewal, were much fewer and often thematically unspecified. There is a moderately strong correlation between region size and response, but also regional differences on other dimensions, for example, regions strong in innovation involved expertise in specialised innovation support organisations to a much higher extent than other. Almost all university response came from ‘young’ universities. The largest and most research-intensive universities are almost absent in the material. Policy implications focus on the need to strengthen the innovation system’s capacity to be agile and initiate support initiatives with long-term perspectives in times of crisis.

Keywords: industrial and innovation policy; public innovation support; regional innovation policy; regional resilience; sustainability transitions

JEL-codes: O31; O32; O38; R58

Language: English

28 pages, May 15, 2023

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