46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
University-industry alliances have long been pursued by public funded programs hoping to boost innovation spillovers in a geographical or cognitive area of research-strength by universities. However, there is still a lack of industry-university cooperation in many fields while at the same time the benefits of universities to their regions' knowledge intensity is firmly advocated (Acs 2004, Martinez-Fernandez & Leevers 2004, Martinez-Fernandez 2004)). The issue is not limited to the dissemination of knowledge, a traditional role of universities, but to introducing change into the region's innovation system through activities that increase industry competitive advantage. Results from a project conducted in South-West Sydney from 2003 to 2005 shows that active industry engagement by Universities offering specific expertise in frontier technologies has a positive effect in university-industry cooperation if compared with other technologies well established in the private sector. The project results also show that the role of Universities as active facilitators of industry engagement in frontier technologies is a critical element in the regional/local innovation system where the university operates. The paper discusses first the context of the emergence of the UWS Nanotechnology Network as a sophisticated knowledge intensive service activity led by the University. Secondly the paper discusses the particular case of nanotechnology as a science in an early path and the role of universities at this particular stage. Thirdly, the paper discusses the use and barriers of firms to nanotechnology applications and the role played by UWS during the duration of the project. Finally policy issues arise in relation to the role of the public education sector in the early promotion of frontier technologies. References Acs, Z. (2002) Innovation and the Growth of Cities. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. Martinez-Fernandez, M.C. (2004) 'Regional Collaboration Infrastructure: Effects in the Hunter Valley of NSW', Australian Planner Vol 41(4); Planning Institute of Australia: Queensland. Martinez-Fernandez, M.C. and K. Leevers (2004) 'Knowledge Creation, Sharing and Transfer as an Innovation Strategy: The Discovery of Nano-technology by South-West Sydney'. International Journal of Technology Management (IJTM), Volume 28 (3/4/5/6): 560-581.