The Double-Edged Sword of Government Role in Innovation Systems: A Case Study in the Development of Policy-Led University Science Parks in China

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Conference Proceeding

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The purpose of this article is to study a widespread type of policy-led University Science Park in China and draw lessons for their future development. In recent years many University Science Parks sponsored by local governments have emerged in China, whose mission is to raise regional level of innovation and economic growth through promoting university-industry connections. We conduct an in-depth case study of one such typical park, the Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District (SEID). Through our field research, we find that the local government has played a critical role in driving university-industry connections and the innovation and entrepreneurship level in SEID, yet many issues remain. We group these issues into three areas: priority setting in university development, university-industry collaborations, innovation and entrepreneurship intermediaries. In conclusion, we find that SEID needs to further transform itself from a largely government-driven to a self-sustaining innovation ecosystem and local government needs to find the right balance for its involvement. The case study offers a glimpse into a typical phenomenon of policy-led University Science Parks in China and provides future lessons and policy recommendations.



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