Interactive Learning for Innovation: A Key Driver within Clusters and Innovation Systems

The role of the cluster facilitator
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Ingstrup, M. Jungwirth, C.

The challenge of being a cluster manager, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 3 3 , Mesquita, L. Sydow, J. Zagorsek, H. Cluster Management: A Practical Guide. TCI in Kolding generated new partnerships. What did the TCI conference mean to my cluster?

Learn about Clusters in a new cartoon. New research shows that firms in clusters are far more innovative! The success of Sandia Science and Technology Park notwithstanding, efforts to transfer technology from national laboratories have often stalled over concerns about conflict of interest and bureaucratic red tape. In his presentation Jonathan Epstein, an aide to Sen. The potential for conflict of interest is reduced when a federal laboratory has an explicit mission to work with the private sector, noted Ken Zweibel of the George Washington University Solar Institute at the symposium.

It is a partner in a state supercomputing project and in a small-business assistance program that is credited with creating and retaining 1, jobs. In California, meanwhile, Sandia is converting a portion of its Lawrence campus into i-Gate, a public-private partnership that will serve as an innovation hub for green-transportation technologies. Partnerships with Carnegie Mellon University, a space exploration center in Hawaii, Caterpillar, ASRC Aerospace, and the Colorado School of Mines, for example, are developing technologies and equipment to mine and develop natural resources on the moon.

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These technologies can have significant commercial applications as well. Exploration Park will have 5, researchers, technicians, and support staff. Ever since Stanford University created a business park next to its campus in , American universities have been regarded as global pioneers in leveraging. As several participants at the symposium noted, the role of university research parks also has evolved. Most early parks were regarded as real estate developments for corporate research labs. In subsequent decades, they became strategically planned campuses designed to foster collaboration, innovation, and commercialization of technology.

These changes come as many state governors are calling on universities to assume even bigger roles as engines of innovation and regional economic development. Good observed. A report by the Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation, for example, finds that university bureaucracies often slow the transfer of technology to private industry.

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These challenges come on top of other obstacles facing university researchers, including the difficulty of securing research grants for applied research and tenure and promotion policies that favor publication of scientific papers, rather than work on applied technologies or commercialization. To improve university technology transfer, the Kauffman report recommends major reforms, such as allowing university researchers to sell intellectual property directly to industry.

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  • Interactive Learning for Innovation: A Key Driver within Clusters and Innovation Systems.
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  • Interactive Learning for Innovation: A Key Driver within Clusters and Innovation Systems.
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See Robert E. Litan, Lesa Mitchell, and E. O18, M13,, , Further, he noted that nations such as the United Kingdom now claim to have developed more efficient systems for transferring technology from universities. Citing a new AURP report, he offered a set of suggestions for improving technology commercialization in the United States. Darmody said. He noted that AUTM data reveal dramatic increases over the past two decades in the number of university inventions, licensing revenue, and expenditure on full-time technology-transfer specialists and patent application.

The number of start-ups launched by AUTM members also has climbed steadily, from in to nearly in Stevens noted that when one looks at the productivity of university technology-transfer programs, however, the picture is unimpressive.

Innovation Systems

Successful patent applications and the number of licenses have remained flat for the past decade. Only 59 percent of 19, invention disclosures by universities in resulted in U. Stevens observed. Just 26 percent led to signed licenses, and only 16 percent resulted in U. Just 3 percent of those inventions led to the formation of start-up companies. This weak performance is remarkably consistent across U. Stevens reported. Some consider this and the rate of commercialization of university inventions to be too low. Even more troubling, Dr.

Stevens said, are data showing that 52 percent of the technology-transfer programs studied lose money for their universities. Only A big reason for their struggling finances, Dr. Stevens suggested, is that universities are rarely able to reap big returns by selling stakes in successful public companies. Universities also lack sufficient staff and funds to shepherd fledgling companies through the Valley of Death until they have marketable products.

One way Washington can help, he said, is by funding post-doctoral fellowships lasting several years for Ph. Cultural attitudes at major universities have been another obstacle to commercialization, noted Johns Hopkins University technology-transfer director Aris Melissaratos in his presentation. While Johns Hopkins is among the biggest recipients of federal research dollars, 93 percent of that coming in health sciences, it has lagged in technology transfer.

Melissaratos, a former Westinghouse Electric executive. To change that culture, the university set up programs to link scientists with entrepreneurs. A new business school, an idea Johns Hopkins trustees had rejected in the past, will offer entrepreneurial training for researchers.

New path development between innovation systems and individual actors

Melissaratos said. That compares to an average of four per year for the previous decade. Licensing revenue is rising steadily. Ultimately, Mr. Melissaratos contended, investment in university research remains the most powerful catalyst for creating new businesses and industries and achieving economic growth. West Virginia University WVU is developing three complementary approaches to growing innovation clusters, President James Clements explained in his presentation. A second is to build a cluster around the needs of locally based U.

A good local example of the linear model at work, he said, is Protea Biosciences, a developer of technologies to discover new proteins in human blood and tissue samples. The fast-growing company began as a research project at WVU, moved to a campus incubator, and then opened its own facility in Morgantown, West Virginia, where it continues to collaborate with university researchers on new products.

Protea, in turn, is stimulating the development of other new companies. According to Dr. Morgantown also is home to the National Energy Technology Laboratory. West Virginia has a history of more than 40 years in technologies used to identify individuals through distinguishing biological traits, 55 Dr. Clements noted, and WVU has had a research partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for more than a decade. Interest by law enforcement surged after the terrorist attacks.

Morgantown then became home to CITeR, 56 a National Science Foundation center that serves as a hub for identification technology research conducted around the country. Clements said.

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No longer do U. As seen in the case of Brazil and Hong Kong reviewed in this report , they also compete against committed national and regional governments that are executing comprehensive strategies that seek to create regional innovation clusters in many of the same high-potential, emerging industries being pursued in the United States.

Indeed, governments around the world are backing up these strategies with heavy investment in state enterprises, new and renewed universities, public-private research collaborations, workforce training, early-stage capital funds, and modern science parks, all reinforced by strong policy attention from top leaders.

As described by various participants, this new competitive landscape is prompting federal, state, and regional authorities in the United States to take creative and comprehensive approaches to developing innovation clusters. Federally funded research programs at universities and national laboratories are in some cases being oriented toward the activities of local industrial clusters. Backed by strong White House leadership, government agencies such as the departments of Energy and Commerce are aligning a wide range of programs to accelerate the development of strategic technologies within regional clusters.

In many instances, federal agencies are sharing best practices with regional agencies and are facilitating networking among researchers, investors, and support organizations across the United States.

There is much greater awareness of the potential benefits of clusters and a concerted effort to create synergies across multiple federal and state programs. The federal and state initiatives described in this symposium, while promising, face a number of challenges. Perhaps foremost is a sharp decline in the availability of federal funds for these types of initiatives. Current budget limitations already run the risk of providing resources that are inadequate to meet the often expansive objectives of the federal and state agencies.

Disruptive technologies - an innovations system approach

Addressing the issue of whether such funding can be sustained over a period of time, Mr. State governments also are under financial duress. In Arizona, which also faces a budget crisis, the legislature has slashed millions of dollars from public-private research programs. Several symposium participants noted that a key strategy for sustaining support is to provide data showing such investments benefit taxpayers, private investors, and universities. However, producing compelling data proving direct links between public spending on science parks, industrial investment incentives, and research consortia and positive economic outcomes, remains a challenge.

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Fernandez observed. Some state development agencies are working on developing methods to better demonstrate the economic payoff of investments in innovation clusters. NorTech, for example, is building a database to measure the performance of each of its cluster initiatives in northern Ohio. Bagley said she would like to identify how many companies were introduced to potential customers, how many negotiated deals, how many jobs were created, and how much investment was generated.

At the end of the day, job growth is what matters most to Americans, Secretary Locke said.

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A critical assessment from an economic-geographical perspective , Springer, Dordrecht. Cohen, W. As such, institutional proximity is an enabling mechanism that provides stable conditions for coordination and thus, influences the level of knowledge transfer and interactive learning between agents. The challenge for achieving new path development varies between types of RISs. Current budget limitations already run the risk of providing resources that are inadequate to meet the often expansive objectives of the federal and state agencies. Sustaining Funding for Clusters The federal and state initiatives described in this symposium, while promising, face a number of challenges.

And the best way to create jobs, Mr.