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Title: Striving for innovation : a Triple Helix exploration of how one Irish college is pursuing this goal
Author: Murphy, Timothy Finbarr
ISNI:       0000 0004 6347 107X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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Universities are central in the creation and diffusion of the knowledge required to advance the notion of the Knowledge Economy. This economic conceptualisation of the university has resulted in the traditional teaching and research oriented university becoming 'entrepreneurial', resulting in the university's so called third mission to innovate. Many higher education institutions, in particular the organisation under investigation, a former vocational education body, now recognised college, are only engaged in the teaching and learning function. This research explores how such institutions strive to innovate through interaction with university, industry and government actors. A case study methodology, utilising the Triple Helix Model as a conceptual theoretical lens to investigate innovation was employed. The Triple Helix Model emphasises the role of networks in the description and prescription of approaches to innovation. Eleven semi-structured interviews with participants from Industry and University were conducted. To account for the government perspective, Critical Discourse Analysis on Ireland's seminal innovation policy text was conducted. The data generated from the interviews and analysis of the policy text highlights that people have different conceptualisations of what innovation is. Most examples cited were in fact process improvements and did not conform to a triple helix conceptualisation of innovation. I contend the model does not adequately account for higher education institutions only engaged in teaching and learning. The Triple Helix Model's skewed view, favours certain disciplines over others, e.g. science, engineering, more product focused disciplines that lead to the commercialisation of its research more readily. For institutions like the Institute, innovation occurs when graduates return and apply the learning in their workplace. Most of the time it may be process improvements that result but some may produce big 'I' innovations. The model can still be used as a tool to understand the importance of networks and the power imbalance between actors. All actors are assumed equal yet what emerges in this research is the dependence of institutions such as the Institute, a college with a narrow discipline, no research remit, only engaged in human capital development on government and industry engagement. The view from Industry, Government and internally is the Institute exists to serve their needs. This resonates with the analysis of the policy text promulgating a hegemonic government position, placing higher education secondary to economic aims. The implication of this study for the Institute is recognition on their part of the need to lessen their dependency on any one relationship and become more of an active participant in networks of multiple actors.
Supervisor: Vassiliki, Papatsiba Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available