Universities and the global knowledge economy:a triple helix of university-industry-government relations
Universities and industry, up to now relatively separate and distinct institutional spheres, are each assuming tasks in the development of new technologies that were once the province of the other. A new social contract is being drawn up between the university and the larger society, in which public funding for the university is made contingent upon a more direct contribution to the economy. Has economic development become a function of the university in addition to teaching and research? As the university crosses traditional boundaries through linkages to industry, it must make its multiple purposes compatible with each other. The impetuses include the industrial activities of individual academics in forming firms, which take on a collective force as they become commonplace; the organizational initiatives of academic administrators in establishing procedures and administrative offices for university-industry relations; and conflict-of-interest controversies over links with industry. A new spiral model of innovation is required to capture multiple reciprocal linkages at different stages of the capitalization of knowledge. How do these developments in the knowledge infrastructure affect the intellectual organization of academic disciplines? Is there a co-evolution between new technologies and developments in their cognitive and institutional environments? Among the effects to be examined is the degree to which academic-industrial collaboration changes the role of the university as a source of disinterested expertise.