Assessing innovation networks in nanotechnology

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Ludeña, Mercy Escalante
Pérez, José
Fernández, Esteban
Fischmann, Adalberto
Plonski, Guilherme Ary
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Nanotechnology is regarded as the key technology for the 21st century, affecting almost every aspect of the economy. It has a great potential to stimulate various industries through the advancement of science and technology. Considering that the nanotechnology involves several areas of knowledge, it needs multidisciplinary teams, and for consequence innovation networks. Innovation networks and specially in the public sector are considered as critical policy instruments to promote the creation and fortification of robust innovation systems, like platforms of learning for the actors. They constitute themselves in integral element in order to improve the technological development, and the competitiveness of the country. Therefore and considering the relevance of these networks, there is a necessity of evaluating their development in order to know its innovation potential and performance, but unfortunately the literature about frameworks for assessing these networks is scarce, especially in nanotechnology. The existing ones are fragmented, lineal and non flexible. In general the research in this area is still weak. In this sense, the main objective of this work is to present the proposal of a framework for evaluating nanotechnology innovation networks. We want to close this gap somehow, through a systemic, dynamic, flexible and transparent approach. The focus of this framework is related to the evaluation of public innovation networks. The proposal, values the already existing contributions, from which new elements have been added. The framework was validated in three segments of the Brazilian nano-technology network. An empirical research, associated to three assumptions, was developed in order to support the proposal. This research was both qualitative as quantitative and it was used research instruments like an interview to key actors and a survey. It is hoped that the proposal can be particularly useful for academics, practitioners, and policy makers in order to guide empirical studies in innovation networks and to improve their technological strategies and Science & Technology policies. It is also expected that the proposal will be replicated in others sectors and the framework can be also extended to evaluate private networks. The method was exploratory and depth case study.
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