Socially Sustainable Technologies Flagship - Research Flagship Project
Knowledge Flows Between Science and Manufacturing:
A collaboration with CSIRO
Knowledge Flows Between Science and Manufacturing: A collaboration with CSIRO is a one year project funded under CSIRO’s Flagship Collaboration Fund via the Future Manufacturing Flagship that examines the changing role of CSIRO in Australia’s future manufacturing industry. The project is being undertaken by the The Swinburne Institute of Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology in partnership with CSIRO. The project commenced in May 2009 and will run until December 2010.
Chief Investigators: Prof Michael Gilding (SUT/The Swinburne Institute), Prof Tom Spurling (SUT/The Swinburne Institute), Dr Greg Simpson (CSIRO)
Research Fellow: Dr Lyndal-Joy Thompson (SUT/The Swinburne Institute)
CSIRO’s Future Manufacturing Flagship aims to provide innovative technology and materials to grow new manufacturing businesses, renew existing industries and help the Australian manufacturing sector address major national challenges such as energy, health, climate and waste. All of these aims are contingent upon effective knowledge exchange from the point of invention to the point of application. There is anecdotal knowledge of this process, but little systematic knowledge.
The project aims to describe and understand patterns of connectivity and knowledge exchange in Australian future manufacturing technology, from the point of invention to the point of application in industry. The research program will apply Social Network Analysis (SNA) to CSIRO innovation pathways and will focus on biomedical and flexible electronics applications.
Phase 1 The first stage of the study involves the identification of case studies within CSIRO that are examples of successful innovation. These case studies are then examined from a network perspective through interviews with key players in these networks. Interviewing is based on snowball sampling. Three historical and one current case study are selected.
The second stage involves ‘mapping’ the innovation pathways taken by the case studies based on the information gathered through the personal interviews. This involves the application of SNA software, Ucinet, for the analysis and visualization of networks.
Qualitative information from the interviews is combined with the network analysis to produce a comprehensive picture of CSIRO’s innovation pathways for the selected case studies. The innovation pathways are examined within the context of the Australian National Innovation System to investigate how this functions in reality and identify key gaps impacting on innovation in the future manufacturing industry.
The study will provide a basis for informed policy development and industry strategy, particularly within CSIRO, but also for the consideration of how Australia’s National System of Innovation functions. It will also provide a vehicle for methodological innovation in the measurement of innovation networks, and theoretical understanding of the effects of location, policy, capital and knowledge exchange on Australia’s Future Manufacturing industry.