Modelling the Emergence of a General Purpose Technology from a Knowledge Based Perspective: The Case of Nanotechnology

Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


Nanotechnology, the manipulation and control of matter at the scale 1–100 nm, proves to have an increasing socio-economic impact on its way to become the key-technology of the twenty-first century. It has already found applications in various industrial sectors such as information and communication technology, pharmaceuticals, materials and manufacturing, or biotechnology. Nanotech is a so-called “General Purpose Technology (GPT)”: with a broad range of applicability and spread in many industries, its innovation networks considerably differ from those of other emerging technologies. Having a strong semi-conductor, materials, and biotechnology industry, the highest “Revealed Technological Advantage” in nanotechnology of Western Europe, and a high share of nanotechnology patents, Ireland seems to be a promising case study for investigating the dynamics of nanotechnology knowledge, its role in the economy, and the effect of policies on both.

In this paper, we address the specific characteristics of GPT innovation networks and suggest ways to model them using Ireland as an empirical case study. We discuss literature providing important stylised facts about nanotechnology/GPT and suggest how they can be implemented into a SKIN application simulating Irish nanotech innovation networks.


Stylise Fact Skin Model Innovation Network Technology Class Capability Network 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EA European Academy of Technology and Innovation Assessment GmbHBad Neuenahr-AhrweilerGermany

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