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Institutional analysis of technological innovation systems

English title Institutional analysis of technological innovation systems
Applicant Markard Jochen
Number 130353
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Eawag
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology - EAWAG
Main discipline Social geography and ecology
Start/End 01.04.2010 - 30.04.2013
Approved amount 174'484.00
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Keywords (4)

institutions; innovation systems; renewable energies; biogas

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Lay summary
LeadInnovationen sind der Kern von technologischem Wandel. Für die Entwicklung und Verbreitung von technologischen Innovationen sind Institutionen im Sinne von Spielregeln zentral. In dem Projekt untersuchen wir die Rolle von Institutionen für die Entwicklung von Biogastechnologien in drei europäischen Ländern.HintergrundIm Bereich der erneuerbaren Energieträger rückt die energetische Nutzung von Biomasse zunehmend ins Blickfeld. Biomasseenergie umfasst vielfältige Nutzungsmöglichkeiten und je nach Biomassesortiment steht die Produktion von Wärme, Strom oder Treibstoff im Vordergrund. Biogastechnologien können als technologische Innovation verstanden und deren Entwicklung und Verbreitung als Innovationsprozess gesehen werden. Trotz der Bedeutung, die Institutionen und institutionellem Wandel zugeschrieben wird, gibt es wenig Übereinstimmung darüber, wie Institutionen und deren Rolle in Innovationsprozessen systematisch zu analysieren sind. Institutionelle Bedingungen sind gerade auch im Bereich von Umweltinnovationen wichtig, weil Umweltregulierungen, öffentliche Förderprogramme und normative Ansichten starke institutionelle Treiber sein können. Gleichzeitig können bestehende institutionelle Strukturen, die weniger nachhaltige Technologiealternativen fördern, auch neuen Umwelttechnologien entgegenstehen. Der Schwerpunkt der Analyse wird auf institutionellen Strukturen des jeweiligen Umfeldes liegen (z.B. Landwirtschafts-, Abfall-, Stromsektor). Die Umfeldstrukturen umfassen neben formalen, regulativen Institutionen (Gesetze, techn. Normen) auch informelle Institutionen (Werte, Berufskulturen, branchenspezifische Standards, Problemdefinitionen, technologiebezogene Erwartungen etc.).ZielMit dem Projekt wollen wir das Verständnis zur Rolle von Institutionen bei der Entwicklung und Verbreitung von neuen Energietechnologien verbessern. Das Ziel ist, Antworten auf die Fragen zu finden wie, welche verschiedenen Institutionen aus dem Umfeld den technologischen Entwicklungspfad beeinflussen und welche Rolle der gegenseitige Einfluss dieser verschiedenen Institutionen spielt. Dafür zeichnen wir in drei europäischen Ländern Veränderungen im institutionellen Umfeld über einen Zeitraum von ca. 15 Jahren nach und vertiefen die Analyse mittels 6-8 Fallstudien.BedeutungMit dem Projekt möchten wir einen Beitrag zur Entwicklung eines Rahmens zur Analyse von institutionellen Strukturen liefern. Aus unserer Analyse können wir Hinweise für eine effektive öffentliche Förderpolitik zugunsten von aufkommenden Umweltinnovationen liefern. Zudem gewinnen wir Einsichten darin, inwieweit Unternehmen und Organisationen Einfluss auf Institutionen haben können.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
Informal institutions matter: professional culture and the development of biogas technology
Wirth Steffen (2013), Informal institutions matter: professional culture and the development of biogas technology, in Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 8, 20-41.
Context matters: How existing sectors and competing technologies affect the prospects of the Swiss Bio-SNG innovation system
Wirth Steffen, Markard Jochen (2011), Context matters: How existing sectors and competing technologies affect the prospects of the Swiss Bio-SNG innovation system, in Technological Forecasting and Social Change, (78), 635-649.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
IFZ Graz (Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture) Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
International Workshop on Low-carbon Energy Innovation Talk given at a conference 28.11.2013 Eindhoven University, Netherlands Markard Jochen;
4th International Conference on Sustainability Transitions Talk given at a conference 19.06.2013 Zürich, Switzerland Markard Jochen; Truffer Bernhard;
Linking Institutions, Innovations and Sustainability Talk given at a conference 21.02.2013 University of Kassel, Germany Truffer Bernhard; Markard Jochen;
3rd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions Talk given at a conference 30.08.2012 DTU, Copenhagen, Denmark Markard Jochen; Truffer Bernhard;
11th Annual IAS-STS Conference on ‘Critical Issues in Science and Technology Studies’ Talk given at a conference 07.05.2012 Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society (IAS-STS), Graz, Austria, Austria Markard Jochen; Truffer Bernhard;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
PhD Summer School on “Technological Innovation Systems: Conceptual, methodological and empirical frontiers” 15.08.2011 Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg (Sweden), Sweden

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Europa und Energie (Seminar) 08.05.2012 Uni Frankfurt, Germany Markard Jochen; Truffer Bernhard;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
113879 Hopes, hypes and disappointments: the social dynamics of expectations and innovation - lessons from stationary fuel cell technology 01.01.2007 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

It is widely acknowledged in the literature on technological change and innovation systems that regulatory, normative and cognitive institutions play a key role for the development and diffusion of innovations. In fact, it is the dynamic interplay of institutions and organizations that largely determines the course of technology development. Despite the importance ascribed to institutions and institutional change, there is little consensus on how to systematically ana-lyze institutions and their role in innovation processes. This is all the more striking in fields such as ‘sustainable innovations’, where environmental regulations, public support programs and normative views can be strong institutional drivers, while at the same time the technology is opposed by established institutional structures that support less sustainable technology alternatives. In this project, we want to develop, empirically apply and refine a conceptual framework for studying the role of institutions for the development of technological innovation systems. Our focus will be on technological innovation systems that are embedded in a broader institutional context. A technological innovation system (TIS) is a set of actors and institutions in a specific technological field, which contribute to the generation, diffusion and utilization of a new tech-nology or product. The context of the TIS includes other actors and institutions, e.g. at a na-tional level or in economic sectors related to the novel technology. Developments in the context shape the emerging technology although there remains leeway for strategic actions of TIS ac-tors. Context institutions include, for example, professional cultures, values and beliefs in the different sectors, dominant modes of collaboration, collective expectations, user preferences but also more aggregated institutional structures related to research and education in a coun-try, labor markets or legal and financial systems. The underlying hypothesis of our project is that a systematic analysis of the institutional con-text and its interplay with the TIS is a key element for understanding how new technologies develop. Such an analysis has to encompass the regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive dimension of institutions and take into account that context institutions as well as the rela-tions of the TIS and its contexts may change over time, e.g. as a consequence of actor strate-gies.Three major research questions guide our work. How do different kinds of institutions in the context influence the course of technology development at the TIS level? Which role does the mutual influence of institutions in the sense of convergence or conflict play in this regard? How do firms and other organizations at the TIS level act in order to cope with the institutional context? Answers to these questions will improve our theoretical understanding of innovation dynamics, support us in developing a conceptual framework for institutional analysis and also contribute to enhancing the analytical strength of innovation system frameworks. Our institu-tional analyses can inform policy making with regard to an effective support of (sustainable) innovations and they may also provide insights into the strategic options innovating actors have, e.g. with regard to shaping the institutional context they are operating in.The empirical work will concentrate on biomass digestion technology, an innovation in the field of renewable energies that has received increasing attention as a means for decentralized elec-tricity generation or methane gas production. The fact that biogas production interacts with different established sectors such as electricity and gas supply, agriculture and (organic) waste disposal makes it a very interesting object to study institutional contexts and how they link up with technological innovation systems. Throughout Europe, moreover, we see quite different rates of biogas diffusion and also different technological designs in different countries. These might be explained - to a certain extent - by differences in institutional context structures and different ways of linking the biogas innovation system in each country to its context.The project will include analyses at the level of technological innovation systems as well as in-depth case studies on selected institutions. Analyses at the system level will be performed for three different countries in order to compare different institutional contexts and technology development (e.g. degree of diffusion, variety of socio-technical configurations, business mod-els). Institutional context changes and innovation dynamics will be studied from an ex-post perspective over a period of 15-20 years. For a more detailed understanding of institutions, their dynamics and mutual influence, about 6-8 cases will be analyzed and compared. Main data sources will be interviews, existing reports and archives (e.g. of newspaper articles or documents of legislation).
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