Connecting the Triple Helix space: actornetwork creation and institutionalisation of knowledge transfer offices

In: Triple Helix
Author: Hugo Pinto 1
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  • 1 Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra & Faculty of Economics, University of Algarve, Campus de Gambelas-Edifício 9, Portugal

Universities are central actors in scientific knowledge production. Public policies are emphasising knowledge transfer through a set of supporting mechanisms to promote innovation. One of these mechanisms is the establishment of innovation intermediaries. This article departs from an extended case study of an academic knowledge transfer office to highlight the institutional change in the Portuguese Triple Helix space, through the process of standardisation, the consolidation of specific professions and vocabularies, and the formalisation of boundary objects. This article departs from the actor-network theory as a research framework to illustrate tensions and contradictions in the institutionalisation of knowledge transfer. Social network analysis is used to map the evolution of the network and different centralities of actors, human and non-human, evidencing the relative importance of knowledge transfer channels. The institutionalisation of knowledge transfer is a continuous, unfinished, and precarious process that deserves attention from policy-makers.

JEL classification: O30, O39, Z13

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