The evolution of South Korea’s innovation system: moving towards the triple helix model?
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The South Korea’s innovation system has been transformed in tandem with rapid economic growth over the last three decades. In order to explore the evolution process of the innovation system in Korea, this study examines the trends and patterns in collaboration activities among the triple helix actors, such as university, industry, and government (UIG), using co-patent data. The triple helix framework is employed to analyze innovation dynamics within the networks of the bi- and trilateral relations embedded in patent collaborations. The analyses focus on how the triple helix dynamics have been shaped and transformed in the course of development of the innovation system. The results reveal that collaboration activities among UIG largely increased across three developmental phases from 1980 to 2012. In the early periods, strategic R&D alliances between industry and government sector were set up to strengthen enterprises’ innovation capabilities. When the Korean large conglomerates, Chaebols, became a dominant driver of domestic innovation activities, the primary agents of the collaborations shifted from industry-government to industry-university. The network analysis shows that university-industry collaboration is the strongest within the triple helix in recent years, followed by industry-government relations and then UIG relations. The tripartite collaboration has emerged with the rise of entrepreneur universities, but its network has rather been weak and inactive. While Korea has experienced a transition from statist model to a triple helix, the full-fledged triple helix model has not been established yet.
KeywordsCo-patent Innovation systems Triple helix University-industry-government relations Collaboration network South Korea
This research is funded by the Science and Technology Policy Institute. The author is very grateful for the valuable comments and suggestions of the anonymous reviews.
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