Innogen, University of Edinburgh, UK
Innogen is a partnership between the University of Edinburgh and The Open University, and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Formed in October 2002, it is part of the ESRC Genomics Network studying the evolution of genomics and life sciences and their far-reaching social and economic implications. Innogen at Edinburgh is based in The Institute for the Study of Science Technology and Innovation (ISSTI). The researchers working at Innogen include social scientists, economists, and lawyers. Innogen also engages with a wide range of stakeholders, nationally and internationally, including scientists, industry and private interest groups, policy makers and regulators, and citizens and public interest groups.
The life sciences have the potential to transform health care and food production systems in developed and developing countries and to provide one of the main platforms of economic growth and global competitiveness in the 21st century. Rapid developments in life sciences also challenge our existing innovation and regulatory systems and raise new economic and social issues. Innogen’s research provides a solid base for decision-making in industry as well as policy and public arenas as it improves our understanding of the role each of these groups and their interactions.
Dr Alessandro Rosiello
Alessandro’s current research at Innogen, on innovation processes in genomics-related industry sectors is employing an interdisciplinary approach to improve understanding of the complex and dynamic ways in which public policy can directly and indirectly.
General: Innovation processes and industrial policy at regional and national levels, with a specific focus on “cluster strategy” as it relates to high tech sectors; the theory of the firm and economic organisation, with a particular interest in New Institutional Economics and the resource-based perspective. Alessandro’s academic background is in Management and Economics. His PhD research (conducted in the department of Economics at Strathclyde University, Glasgow) investigates links and complementarities occurring between Transaction Cost Economics and competence-based views of the firm and biotechnology firms’ organisational choices in the Scottish context.
Alessandro’s first research project as a research fellow at the ESRC Innogen Centre was sponsored by Scottish Enterprise and it aimed to evaluate the economic impact of the investments made by the agency to promote the development of a competitive biotechnology industry in Scotland. It involved an in-depth evaluation of performance in this area, covering a broader range of measures of success than traditional investment performance and cost benefit analyses, including direct and indirect outcomes, start-ups and job creation. It investigated the more intangible aspects of performance in the promotion of innovation in genomics related areas, and also those which may have a delayed outcome but which will be more important in the long term than immediate or quantifiable benefits. The research also compared the Scottish experience with that of other countries, such as Denmark and Sweden.
More recently, Alessandro’s second research project consisted of a workshop-based project to explore the factors that determine success in the policy-led development of biotechnology clusters, and it attempted to bring a greater degree of consensus in interpreting the implications of research from different social science discipline areas. This project has led to the publication of a special issue in European Planning Studies entitled “Rethinking Innovation Systems in Life Sciences: Implications for Regional and Innovation Policy” (March 2008), in which Alessandro has also co-authored a paper with Prof Luigi Orsenigo that makes a “Critical Assessment of regional Innovation Policy in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology”
Alessandro’s current research interests lie specifically on:
A) The changing roles and strategies of companies in driving life-science innovation
B) New dynamics of public and private applications of the life sciences – translation
C) Knowledge and application convergences and divergences and life-science industry evolution, and their implications for the regional and innovation policy – both in theory and in practice.
UEDIN/Innogen will be assisted by ITI Life Sciences throughout the project. ITI will provide Innogen all necessary access to ITI employees and other resources in order to observe how it works, how decisions are made, how activities are planned, etc. ITI will provide the consortium knowledge about the Scottish Innovation Strategy, so it can be compared with other strategies, programmes and experiences in other EU Member States and Associated Countries. See also the Letter of Intent on page 87.
ITI Life Sciences is a unique, entrepreneurial and innovation organisation that has been set up by Scottish Enterprise in 2003 to create and manage early stage research and development programmes to generate market-focused intellectual assets for exploitation by existing and new companies. ITI Life Science promotes and invests in activities that are based on the assessment of future market needs, and on the identification of technology development opportunities. The ITI’s experienced team has in-depth commercial experience and are supported by an influential advisory group.
The ITI’s operations include among others the following activities:
ITI Life Sciences consults with industry, the research community, investors and its Scientific Advisory Board to help identify future market needs and technology development opportunities. This insight and analysis is shared with our Members in the form of market intelligence reports.
When an opportunity has been clearly identified by the Foresighting process, we then refine and develop the concept in detail. This includes determining the scope of the programme, identifying the existing IP (intellectual property) landscape and carrying out diligence.
Potential programmes are assessed on market attractiveness, technical feasibility, the ability to create sustainable competitive advantage, the Scottish fit with available resources or capabilities, and the ability to achieve economic benefits for Scotland.