Life Sciences Innovation in Central and Eastern Europe: Conceptual Frameworks and Contributions

Huzair, Farah and Robbins, Peter (2008). Life Sciences Innovation in Central and Eastern Europe: Conceptual Frameworks and Contributions. Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology, 2(2)




This article outlines analytical frameworks for studying life sciences innovation in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), based on national systems of innovation and the triple helix. The reflexive and evolutionary models of triple helix 1-3 help us in evaluating life sciences innovation in the shift from pre- to post-transition, and are useful in providing a systemic approach that emphasises social institutions over the role of the firm. While pre-transition CEE embodied a linear innovation model rooted in state ownership, after the transition we see the importance of the state as a network organiser, and the productive inputs of multinational corporations. Life sciences innovation in CEE is challenged by path dependency and institutional lock-in established through years of state control, from which it can be difficult to break out. Articles in this special issue highlight the benefits and constraints of new forms of private investment. While there is evidence for cautious optimism in the CEE pharmaceutical industry, quango-run state genome projects have been less successful. Findings on knowledge cultures in Hungarian agbiotech innovation communities help to flesh out the triple helix model. This issue also provides foresight in examining challenges of the central European pharmaceutical industry and open intellectual property regimes being trialed in Canada, which may have relevance for the region as post-transition innovation systems deepen.

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