Rethinking Borders of National Systems of Innovation: Austrian Perspectives on Korea's Internationalization of Green Technologies

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Artikel & Kommentare 04.11.2014

Peer-reviewed article by Philipp Olbrich & Nina Witjes in STI Policy Review

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Sicence Technology & Innovation Policy Review
Vol. 5 No. 2
October 2014
Journal STI Policy Review


Abstract
The recent decades have seen a growing rate of international cooperation in science, technology, and innovation (STI) including in the field of green technologies. However, current approaches to national systems of innovation (NSI) have not kept up with this development. International aspects are rather treated as external conditions within which policymakers operate and respond but not influence. This paper tackles this problem by applying a refined NSI concept that includes an international dimension and complements past frameworks by focusing on those Korean government policies, actors, and activities relevant for the internationalization of STI. Austria and Korea have both formulated differing strategies to acquire international leading positions in the field of innovation and the development of green technologies. In the first step, the paper assesses Korea’s international activities within the field of green technologies that transcend national boundaries and establish international connections. The government has still a strong influence on selecting technology areas for strategic funding but our findings show that international STI actors have difficulties in identifying the appropriate point of contact to initiate cooperation or apply for related funding. Second, an external perspective on Korea’s international collaborations in the field of green technologies is offered. Austria has tentatively identified the East Asian country as a second-priority cooperation partner for its future STI internationalization activities. Interviews with Austrian stakeholders in the field of green technologies indicate a high interest in cooperation with Korea that is facilitated by a similar business culture based on personal networks. Moreover, researchers and policymakers referred to a shared need of small countries for
intelligent decision-making processes regarding potential cooperation partners abroad. However, in order to enhance awareness, visibility and demand for Korean STI cooperation in European countries, more longterm funding programs featuring a more permanent point of contact should be introduced.

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