"Innovation" in a Triple Helix of University-Industry-Government Relations as a Subject for "Science and Technology Studies"

by Loet Leydesdorff
Department of Science & Technology Dynamics
University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
1018 WV Amsterdam, The Netherlands


The model of a Triple Helix of University-Industry-Government Relations highlights the emergence of an overlay of communications that feeds back on the underlying institutional arrangements. The underlying arrangements can then be expected to remain in transition. The reflexive capacities of the carrying agents become crucial to the system's further development.

Innovation can be considered as an interactive recombination among, for example, knowledge-based options and market potentials. This operation is both interactive and recursive. The carrying agencies provide the substantive variation by interacting and changing their environments reflexively. From this perspective, the institutional layer can also be considered as a retention mechanism. The model of National Systems of Innovations will be compared to the case of European RTD networks.

The differentiation no longer needs to be resolved (by integration), since the network configurations can be changed and reproduced by means of "translations" among historically changing codes.

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