Innovative Capabilities of the Agricultural Biotechnology Sector in Hungary

Huzair, Farah (2008). Innovative Capabilities of the Agricultural Biotechnology Sector in Hungary. PhD thesis The Open University.



This study investigates how context-specific institutional factors affect innovative capabilities of the agricultural crop biotechnology sector in Hungary. Answering this question has involved three areas of research, into: the network of actors and its accommodation of technological characteristics; the sustained use of institutional arrangements which characterised the pre-transition science and innovation system; and, the difficulty of adapting to the regulatory environment in the post accession phase.

The significance of this work results from the lack of current knowledge on the extent and survival of capabilities in this sector in Hungary. The study timing is also significant: This is a phase that demonstrates how the sector is surviving the economic crisis that accompanied transition and enduring the current political uncertainty surrounding national GM crop policy.

The study uses qualitative methods, comprising a series of in-depth investigations. Data collection via interview and observation began in 2006. Data collection and analysis were guided by a theoretical framework emanating from national innovation systems and triple-helix perspectives.

This thesis explores the challenges that are faced by an innovation system during economic transition. The thesis also contributes to the knowledge of science systems and how core science capabilities have contributed to the endurance of a sectoral innovation system. In conclusion the work finds that innovative capabilities in the Hungarian agri-biotech sector currently reside in the core competencies and activities of the science community in this sector and the networks they have created over time within and outside the country. Their future survival depends on the ability of the sector to adapt to the changing context. The institutions between actors and organisations are key to survival of capabilities and their ability to adapt. Institutions hold both the adaptive mechanisms for change and the legacies of the past which can help or hinder that change.

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