Department of Organization

Research, Innovation and Organization (RIO) Group


Isomorphic Difference: Familiarity and distinctiveness in national science
and innovation policies

The project investigates similarities and differences in national science and innovation policies in USA, China and Denmark. It does so by comparing innovation objectives and models, policy instruments and incentives, selectivity and "hot topics", and evaluation and impact assessments tools across the the countries. In order to test the way policies are translated into concrete activities, the project also investigates selected case studies and compares these. Theoretically, the project combines STS and institutional theory and seeks to conceptualize how innovation ideas emerge, travel, intersect and organize, and what the societal consequences are of such processes.
The project comprises four work packages, including 1 PhD and 1 Postdoc project.

Participants: Alan Irwin (PI), Signe Vikkelsø, Jane Bjørn Vedel, Julia Kirch Kirkegaard, Xiaobai Shen, Aixa Y. Alemán-Díaz, Mikkel Dehlholm
Duration: August 2018 - January 2022
Isomorphic difference in China: a case of Chinese innovation policymaking

As a China scholar and sociologist of innovation and science, I use a lens of Science & Technology Studies (STS) to shed light on isomorphic differences and potential socio-technical controversies over Chinese S&T and innovation policymaking. In particular, I am interested in exploring different modes of valuing 'good' and 'high quality' scientific practices (e.g. in terms of inter-disciplinarity, collaborative science, IPRs). In the project, I aim to trace isomorphic processes in innovation policymaking through a focus on China's Medium- to Long-Term plan for Science & Technology (MLP). I will here conduct ethnographic fieldwork with scientists and experts in China related to formulating the previous (2006-2020) and upcoming MLP (2021-2035). By focusing on the shift of discourses (e.g. of indigenous innovation), policy tools, and scientific policy areas and how these changes are linked to inspiration from outside of China, I will be able to detect processes of isomorphism and isomorphic difference. To get further insight into potential differences in policy implementation (reflecting isomorphic difference), I will conduct an ethnographic case study on the Chinese science city, Huairou Science City. Here, I will particularly explore how a Chinese synchrotron has been planned and established, and how Sino-foreign collaborations play out around this.

Participants: Julia Kirch Kirkegaard and Mikkel Delholm
Isomorphic differences and integration in science and innovation policy:
A case study of the USA National Nanotechnology Initiative

The project introduces a research strand to the Isomorphic difference: Familiarity and distinctiveness in national science and innovation policies study (from herein ‘the collaborative research project’). This project focuses on the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), the selected ‘big science’/innovation policy collaboration in the United States of America (USA) within the collaborative research project. An organization studies and a science and technology studies (STS) perspective underlies this proposed comparative analysis of documents, views of key stakeholders and observation study, with the added value of the application of a policy integration framework (i.e. Candel & Biesbroek, 2016) that can facilitate the measurement of coherence and consistency between vision, goals and practice in the NNI. The findings from this project will contribute towards theorization of policy integration and ‘the degree to which national elements are implemented in practice and form coherent patterns’ (Irwin, 2018). The project will also illuminate discussions about ‘the promises attached to…specific technosciencentific fields’ (Konrad et al, 2017) and will ‘critically appraise and challenge existing assumptions and visions’ (Konrad et al, 2017) about the NNI, imaginaries that are being shaped as this innovation project positions itself into the future . This work can “stimulate policy and organizational learning, which may ultimately lead to better policy design and more efficient policy implementation” (Tosun and Lang, 2013) on innovation. The joint work will provide insights into how ‘nations strike the balance between ‘following the global crowd’ and ‘setting a distinctive direction’’ (Irwin, 2018 and 2019).

Lead: Aixa Y. Alemán-Díaz
PhD Supervisor: Alan Irwin
Duration: 01/06/2019 to 31/01/2020
Management and Organization of Innovation Partnerships

The project focuses on the organizational characteristics and challenges of innovation partnerships and their managerial implications. It does so in two steps: a) a broad comparison of selected partnerships funded by Innovation Fund Denmark; b) a case study of one of these partnerships, the "Enzyme Opti Partnership". Theoretically, the project draws on organization theory and seeks to contribute to the field of innovation studies, by "opening the black box" of innovation partnerships and discussing their role and relevance in national innovation policies.

Participants: Signe Vikkelsø, Julie Sommerlund (UCPH), Mikkel Stokholm Skaarup
Duration: 2017-2020
Public-Private Innovation Partnerships: Value Creation in Smart Cities

This project focuses on how Public-Private Innovation Partnership experiment, scale and create value the public. This project looks specifically at the Smart City sector and how municipalities partner with technology companies and other stakeholders to develop solutions that can assist cities in the myriad of challenges rising from rapid urbanisation, global warming and ensuring sustainable economic development. The project is an Industrial PhD, hosted by Copenhagen Solutions Lab, the City of Copenhagen’s Smart City governance unit. The PhD is part of the Innovation Fund’s call for Public Industrial PhD focusing on innovation in public organizations, furthermore it is partially funded by Realdania.

Lasse Bundgaard; PhD Supervisor: Susana Borras (Department of Organization)
Duration: 17/3/2017-17/3/2020
Studies of Policy Instruments and Policy Mixes for Innovation with Quantitative Text Analysis

Demands for an active role of the state in making economic development more sustainable are becoming prevalent in academic debates. In this context, innovation policy is a key area of state activity since fostering sustainability requires renewing production and consumption systems. For my PhD, I analyze innovation policy by focusing on policy instruments as techniques governments use to achieve policy goals. I devote particular attention to the instruments fostering sustainability. My project consists of a mapping of innovation policy instruments; an analysis of the difference between traditional growth-oriented instruments and new sustainability-oriented ones; and a study of factors facilitating the diffusion of these new instruments. It uses a dataset containing information on 10.000+ recent instruments from more than 50 countries. My project contributes to the state of research in three ways: First, it introduces a new approach to the comparative study of instruments drawing on methods for quantitative text analysis and machine learning. These methods allow analyzing higher instrument numbers than before and provide new ways for recognizing patterns in the data. Second, my project’s research results will give new insights into the features of instruments for sustainability by testing assumptions from the existing body of literature, such as that these instruments involve more societal stakeholders than others. Third, my project contributes to the theory of policy diffusion, considering how membership in international organizations, structural equivalence and other factors affect which instruments states adopt.

Lead: David Howoldt
PhD Supervisors: Susana Borrás (Department of Organization), Christoph Grimpe (Department of Strategy and Innovation)
Duration: 09/2017 - 12/2020
Economic competitiveness and/or Science in Society:
The role of publicly funded research in the private sector

This project explores the diverse justifications and argumentations regarding the value of publicly funded research in the private sector. The main research question is: How does the private sector define the role(s) of publicly funded research? Rather than drawing solely on a model of economic competitiveness, the project takes its point of departure in a Science in Society framework and considers the role of public research in a broader societal perspective. The research question is addressed through 50+ qualitative semi-structured interviews with industrial managers in research-based companies. The research is supported by a grant from the Carlsberg Foundation.

Lead: Jane Bjørn Vedel
Duration: 2015-2017 (extended)
The socioeconomic importance of research-based education - The role of long-term grants
in public research institutions

This project examines the role of long-term grants in public research institutions. Drawing on organization theory, it investigates how long-term grants change organizational, epistemic and educational practices in universities and considers the wider socio-economic importance hereof. The research is based on 70+ qualitative semi-structured interviews with grant holders. The project is part of a larger research project titled “The socioeconomic importance of research-based education” that examines: What are the societal effects of university-based education in a complex R&D innovation ecosystem, and how might educational policy be improved so as to maximize these effects efficiently? The project is supported by a grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Participants: Jane Bjørn Vedel, Anders Sørensen (principal investigator), Fane Groes and Moira Daily
Duration: 2017-2020


The page was last edited by: Department of Organization // 11/22/2019