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Triple Helix

A Journal of University-Industry-Government Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Editor-in-Chief Henry Etzkowitz

The Triple Helix of university-industry-government relations is an internationally recognized model for understanding entrepreneurship, the changing dynamics of universities, innovation and socio-economic development.

The aim of the journal is to publish research for an international audience covering analysis, theory, measurements and empirical enquiry in all aspects of university-industry-government interactions. The objective is to unite key research on the transformations of universities, capitalization of knowledge, translational research, spin-off activities, intellectual property, knowledge and technology transfer, as well as the international bases and dimensions of Triple Helix relations, their impacts, social, economic, political, cultural, health and environmental implications as they arise from and shape Triple Helix interactions.

Open to all innovation authors, the special mission of the journal is to be an international outlet also for innovation scholars from developing countries.

Michael Mandrup and Tine Lynfort Jensen

This article presents a practical approach on how to develop and explore an educational design combining Triple Helix theory and Educational Action Research for support of student learning and innovation activities in interaction with various actors. The design, termed EARTH, organizes systemic interactions between selected sectoral actors at the level of individuals in a context of innovative learning. Educational Action Research and Triple Helix theory share common principles seeking to generate change through collaboration, co-creation, equality, voluntarism, communication, and consensus-making between various actors. This creates a productive framework for supporting students’ innovation activities and learning experiences, educational research, and organizational development. The EARTH design provides a basis for open innovation projects between students, teachers, researchers, and external partners from different sectors. Research data indicate that Triple Helix dynamics of substitution support students’ competence and project developments. The design generates real-world innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for the students through mastery, social change, and vicarious learning. Furthermore, student teams organize self-initiated project interactions with diverse sectoral actors. The principles of Educational Action Research and Triple Helix are ideals that may be difficult to align due to asymmetries between involved partners unless such structural deficiencies are mutually addressed. This may be corrected by reorganizing the relations between Triple Helix spaces of knowledge, innovation, and consensus. The article concludes with a discussion of combining Educational Action Research with Triple Helix theory and some general perspectives for future developments of the EARTH design.

Jarunee Wonglimpiyarat and Pravit Khaemasunun

The purpose of this study is to examine the innovation financing system of China from a Triple Helix policy perspective. The analysis comparing the case with the USA, the world’s most innovative economy, provides interesting insights regarding the innovative performance of China. The study shows that while the Chinese government introduced many intervention policy initiatives after the country joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), a comparative study with the US model has shown the development of an innovation system through market mechanism with strong Triple Helix interactions in its industrial clusters. The study provides lessons and insights that are useful for other emerging economies to use as policy guidelines in strengthening their innovation financing systems.

Yuzhuo Cai

While there is a common belief among policymakers and academics around the world that Triple Helix relationships between university, industry and government provide optimal conditions for innovation, it should be noted that the Triple Helix concept has been developed from the experience of advanced economies in the West. There is a lack of theoretical considerations and empirical evidence on whether the Triple Helix model is applicable in non-Western contexts. Following the understanding that the evolution of an ideal Triple Helix model is facilitated by certain institutional logics in Western societies, this paper takes China as an example to examine how the institutional logics in China are different from those of the West and how the institutional logics in China would promote or impede the development of the Triple Helix model in China in light of an extensive review of the relevant literature and policy documents. The study suggests that to optimise the Chinese innovation policies, China needs on the one hand to adjust some elements of its institutional environment to facilitate the interactions between key innovation actors and on the other hand to be innovative in developing its own Triple Helix modes given the unique Chinese institutional environment which will persist in the foreseeable future.

Annamária Inzelt

In the age of Open Innovation, it is vital for a country in the lower middle-income bracket to free itself from those constraints which seriously weaken the links between science and industry. A descriptive analysis of these linkages in a post-Soviet economy—Armenia—sheds some light on developments in policy-making which reinforce the interests of the private sector in the academic research and development (R&D) sphere. However, the way of thinking is still predominantly the ‘science-push’ model—which is far removed from the (horizontal) Triple Helix concept. According to empirical analysis, the scarcity of innovative companies is a serious handicap for industry-science collaboration and if the private sector has little demand for knowledge or science, then the innovation system cannot be effective. Very few higher education institutions (HEIs) or research institutes have devoted attention to the management of technology transfer, including necessary human resources. Human capacity problems, outdated infrastructure and an ageing workforce are significant barriers in scientific organisations. The autonomy of scientific organisations is an important asset which only half-exists in Armenia. On the escape route from a command economy, there are two potential traps on the way of autonomy: one occurs when the state overarches legal autonomy and creates a semi-autonomous situation; the other arises when the state is reluctant to regulate the framework for autonomous scientific organisations. Both exist in Armenia.

JEL Classification: 03; 05

Harley Balzer and Jon Askonas

Russia and China both are endeavoring to transform Soviet-style R&D systems characterized by separate education, research and business spheres into something more suited to a knowledge economy supporting innovation. The Triple Helix model is an attractive configuration, derived from the practices of the most successful innovation systems, and suggesting that the three key actors—universities, business, and the state—might in some instances substitute for each other. A model placing the state at the center appeals to non-democratic regimes and countries endeavoring to catch up with OECD nations.

We compare the Chinese and Russian efforts to implement a Triple Helix program by examining institutional change, epistemic communities, funding, and the role of the state, with nanotechnology as a case study. While both nations have introduced major programs and allocated significant funding, we find that China has been vastly more successful than Russia in promoting collaboration among universities, business, and government to advance research and innovation. We attribute the difference to the quality of state policies that provide incentives for agents and epistemic communities to alter their behavior, an outcome facilitated by conditions at the beginning of reforms, which made the Chinese far more open to learning.

Josep M. Pique, Jasmina Berbegal-Mirabent and Henry Etzkowitz

Silicon Valley’s innovation ecosystem has evolved in the last decade. In this study we aim to understand how and why Silicon Valley evolves by identifying changes on the role played by the Triple Helix Agents. We also aim at identifying if changes in one of the agents trigger evolution of the others. Taking the startup as the unit of analysis and applying a multiple case-study approach, the results are analyzed on the bases of the Triple Helix Model and interpreted in the light of the periods of development of an entrepreneurial venture. Our findings suggest that the role of the Triple Helix agents evolves over time and therefore, so does an innovative ecosystem. Main changes refer to the (1) rise of accelerator programs as a new player in the ecosystem; (2) an early engagement of corporations with startups; (3) the geographical expansion of Silicon Valley, now including San Francisco; (4) an increasing commitment of universities with capital funds; and (5) the rise of micromultinationals due to talent shortage and fierce competition in the area.

Alain-Marc Rieu

Innovation policies are considered the long-term strategy to overcome the present systemic crisis. But this crisis is questioning such policies, their presuppositions and institutional arrangements. This questioning includes the Triple Helix theory and its impact on research and innovation policies. The goal is to examine how this theory can respond to theoretical and practical challenges, how the theory needs to evolve in order to fit the present context. The criticism focuses on growing worldwide standardization of research and innovation policies and their long-term impact on innovation. Restoring and increasing research diversity is urgent for sustained innovation. One solution is to add ‘society’ as a fourth helix. The problem is to clarify what ‘society’ stands for in this context. The paper studies three different institutional arrangements, France, Germany, and Japan, because these three cases can learn from each other and contribute to progress in the Helix theory itself. Potential reforms are summarized in some policy recommendations.

Eustache Mêgnigbêto

Research papers that studied the Triple Helix in relation to international co-authorship considered international collaboration as the fourth element of the system. This paper suggests considering three levels of study to assess the effect of international collaboration on an innovation system: the domestic one, the foreign one and the global one. The mutual information and the transmission power are used as indicators. Bibliographic data of South Korea and the West African region for a 10-year period (2001–2010) were downloaded and imported to a bibliographic software application. Searches are run to determine the Triple Helix actors and their bi- or trilateral collaboration contributions per considered area, year and level. Then, the mutual information and the transmission power were computed. Results show that at the domestic level, the South Korean innovation system is more integrated, whereas the West African one is less integrated than that of their partners. Results also show that international collaboration has strengthened knowledge sharing at the domestic level for both South Korea and West Africa, but to a different extent; in other words, the two areas have benefited from international collaboration in terms of knowledge flow.

Eustache Mêgnigbêto

Synergy within a Triple Helix innovation system has been measured in relevant literature using mutual information and transmission power, all based on Shannon’s information theory. However, as a complex system, Triple Helix relationships may also be analysed with various techniques and tools from other disciplines among which game theory. Thus, the synergy may be measured with indicators like the core, the Shapley value and the nucleolus. The core measures the extent of the synergy, the Shapley value indicates an actor’s strength to lead to and create synergy and the nucleolus determines an actor’s strength to maintain synergy. The Triple Helix innovation systems of eight countries among which four developed—USA, UK, Germany and France—and four emerging—Russia, India, Brazil and China—were analysed based on their scientific output using game theory. It appears that the biggest Triple Helix science producer has more power to lead to and create synergy; government shows solidarity to maintain synergy within the innovation system. The level of synergy is higher in developing countries (led by France, 1.7–2%) than in emerging ones (led by Brazil, less than or equal to 1%), operating a division of selected countries according to their level of development. The study shows that state intervention in the economy influences the position of the core on a ternary diagram.