Can public policy create sustainable and long-term effects on industry? Conceptual issues and the case of life sciences for innovative food in Sweden
Paper i proceeding, 2010

This paper addresses the question what role public policy can play for connecting industry and public research organizations, i.e. what types of long-term goals and effects on industry can one reasonably expect? The present study analyzes 66 projects co-funded by the Swedish government agency Vinnova in the food area. The analysis showed that the Swedish policy in the area of innovative food was ‘needs-driven’ and explicitly designed to get university researchers and firms to interact. We also found that the manner in which the firms were involved in research varied greatly, but that in general this interaction was considered important in order to access knowledge and solve problems. Many projects were identified as providing benefits in commercialization activities. However, the actual product development usually occurred inside the boundaries of the firm. Furthermore, companies may have incentives to collaborate in order to ‘brand’ their products as high quality and to support marketing. Another valuable result of the policy was increasing labor mobility, that is, companies hiring PhDs. Finally, it can be concluded that given the global character of the food industry it seems that the pursued policy have contributed to make Sweden a more attractive place for industrial R&D investments


Jens Laage-Hellman

Göteborgs universitet

Tomas McKelvey

Göteborgs universitet

International Schumpeter Society Conference



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