Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS


KEINS Résumé de rapport

Project ID: 506022
Financé au titre de: FP6-CITIZENS
Pays: Italy

Final Report Summary - KEINS (Knowledge-based entrepreneurship: innovation, networks ans systems)

The KEINS project aimed the following:
1. to discuss and refine current concepts of Knowledge-based entrepreneurship (KBE);
2. to explore the relationship between KBE and innovation;
3. to define the role of networks of alliances, information, finance, academic inventors and social ties;
4. to assess KBE in different sectoral and national systems of innovation;
5. to produce policy recommendations.

KEINS has examined the relevance, features and developments of KBE in Europe. Quite distinctively, KEINS has gone well beyond the person-centric approach of traditional literature on entrepreneurship, in order to examine the latter more broadly in terms of development of new technologies, either jointly with the foundation of the firms or through the display of entrepreneurial spirit by existing firms or single individuals within no-profit organisations such as universities or public laboratories.

KEINS has looked at three types of KBE: start-up entrepreneurship, corporate entrepreneurship and academic entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are seen as knowledge operators, dedicated to the utilisation of existing knowledge, the integration of different knowledge assets, and the creation of new knowledge. They may perform this function either by setting up new companies, or by activating social, financial, and expertise networks from within existing companies, universities or other organisations.

KEINS has also investigated the institutional settings within KBE is framed for a number of countries (France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom and several Central and Eastern Europe Countries (CEECs)), technologies (for instance, electronics and biotechnology) and sectors (for instance, cross-section studies cover different manufacturing sectors). Academic institutions have been examined closely across three countries, namely Italy, France and Sweden.

Entrepreneurial activity also depends on structural factors that KEINS hypothesises to be strongly related to the networks in which entrepreneurs are embedded, on one hand, and to the forces of sectoral, regional, and national innovation systems, on the other. These two constitute in KEINS the structural conditions of KBE.

The comprehensive studies conducted within KEINS have also contributed to fill a significant gap in the literature on the context in which entrepreneurs operate. This is of great importance given the direct relevancy of this aspect of entrepreneurship to the concerns of policy decision makers.

KEINS has integrated different methodologies and approaches, ranging from appreciative, formal theorising and conceptual work to empirical evidence in the form of both case studies and quantitative empirical work. Special care has been devoted to include different industries and countries, with an extensive coverage of Accession Countries.

KEINS brought a significant degree of originality and innovation and has improved upon existing knowledge on KBE both from an empirical and a methodological point of view. The KEINS consortium has used information resources with cross-European reach but, more importantly, has created new ones to achieve these goals.

The core activities of the KEINS project are articulated in six main Work packages (WPs):
WP1: Literature review and conceptual framework
WP2: Case studies on specific sectors; cross-country and cross-sector comparative analysis
WP3: Quantitative analysis on entry
WP4: Quantitative analysis on entry and innovation
WP5: Quantitative analysis on academic entrepreneurship
WP6: Policy issues.

WP1 has produced a broader, but at the same time more precise definition of KBE. In recognition of the critical role of KBE for long-term growth and high-skill employment, KEINS has investigated the features of and changes in such entrepreneurship in Europe. It has contributed to the development of an appropriate analytical methodology based on the critical review and effective integration of the literature relating to KBE, industrial dynamics, innovation networks and innovation systems. Indeed, rather than limiting itself to the traditional person-centric concentration of the entrepreneurship literature, KEINS has taken a systemic view of KBE, emphasising the context of KBE in different sectoral, regional and national setups. Moreover, KBE has been examined not only in terms of new firm formation, but also in terms of corporate entrepreneurship (knowledge creation / integration by established companies) and academic entrepreneurship. The study has emphasised the role of science and technology, innovation systems, and institutions in promoting and supporting entrepreneurship.

WP2 has examined empirically the sources and the processes of KBE across sectors, countries, and regions, and discussed the role of networks and innovation systems (sectoral, regional or national) in affecting the nature and processes of entrepreneurship. Case studies have been produced both at an early and at a late stage of the project. The early ones have complemented the conceptual framework to help focusing the data collection efforts and the subsequent analysis. The late ones have explored in depth a few cases of entrepreneurship among those covered by the newly collected data (in WP3, WP4 and WP5), in order to allow some cross-checking of the hypothesis put forward and the conclusions reached by the quantitative analysis.

WPs 3 and 4 have conducted a broad comparative analysis, including six EU Member States (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and Portugal) and several Accession Countries (Poland and others). Importantly, KEINS partners are uniquely positioned to extend the comparative analysis to the United States (US).

WP5 has contributed to pioneer a new way to look at and exploit patent data, using the information they contain on individual inventors and combining it with more conventional information on patent applicants. The resulting datasets has allowed extensive experimentation with social network analysis as a tool for studying KBE phenomena, in particular with respect to academic entrepreneurship and networks of research.

KEINS has defined entrepreneurship as a key resource in three, overlapping, innovation-related fields:
- the creation of new firms (start-up entrepreneurship);
- the promotion and development of new technologies by both independent small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large companies (corporate entrepreneurship);
- the pooling of resources by academic scientists looking for new research directions (academic entrepreneurship).

KEINS has examined entrepreneurship along three lines:
- knowledge and learning activities: definitions, contents, and organizational requirements;
- networks of enterprises and individuals: their measurement, their structural properties and their contribution to entrepreneurship;
- entrepreneurship and institutions: the relationship between knowledge-based entrepreneurs and national or sectoral institutions such as institutions of science (e.g. universities) and technology policy (e.g. intellectual property right (IPR) laws or technology transfer agencies).

The KEINS consortium has examined the industrial dynamics and the techno-socio-economic context in which knowledge-based entrepreneurs operate in several sectors and countries across Europe, with a good mix of EU Member States and Accession Countries. The consortium has also compared the analysis on entrepreneurship with research currently going on in the US.

KEINS findings have direct policy relevance in term of coping with the European paradox and finding ways for scientific and basic technological research to have a higher and more effective innovative and competitive impact. These benefits mainly come from KEINS' contribution to relate the topic of KBE to the analysis of innovation networks and innovation systems.

- Networks of all kinds have been aggressively promoted through the science, technology and industrial policies of both the European Commission and Member States. Six Framework Programmes for Research and technology development (RTD) until now have heavily promoted research partnerships and other forms of technology alliances and networks of excellence. Extensive networking relationships have also developed independently between industry and universities. Few studies, however, have explored the impact of such networks on KBE. Similarly, very few studies have gone beyond the basic intuition of 'networking' as a beneficial activity, and explored the many facets this can take, the emerging structure of social relationships, and the norms on IPRs that sustain them.

- The system perspective has also pervaded recent EU policies for innovation. KEINS helps understanding how the specific national innovation systems, sectoral systems or regional systems impact on KBE. In addition, it provides analysis about ways to foster the emergence of the ERA and the progress towards the establishment of the knowledge-based economy (e-Europe), and in terms of the ongoing discussion over the Sixth Framework Programme's emphasis on networks of excellence. Policy implications are also directly connected to the broad requirements for innovation in Europe underlined by the Lisbon European Council, including the extraction of the maximum benefit from the national and Union-level research effort and the creation of a friendly environment for starting up and developing innovative businesses.

Informations connexes

Reported by

25, Via Sarfatti
I - 20136 MILANO