Innovation Agencies in a Resource Based Economy The Case of Alberta: Leadership, Energy, and Innovation

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There are government created organizations with a mandate to affect the sub- national system of innovation. These ‘innovation agency’ organizations provide functionality that enables additional innovation activity; this functionality may be delivered by organizations external to the innovation agency. The Alberta Oil Sands Science and Research Authority (AOSTRA), Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR), and the Alberta Informatics Circle of Research Excellence (iCORE) are three innovation agencies that exemplify significant innovation policy investments by the Alberta government. This thesis uses historical analysis and case studies to examine these three innovation agencies. The historical analysis examines Alberta’s complex coevolution of institutions, policy leadership and technically challenging natural resources that set the stage for these innovation agencies to emerge. Case study techniques are used to explore the emergence, operations, and impact of the innovation agencies. The findings are then positioned in the system of innovation literature. It was found that the Alberta system of innovation was highly influenced by institutional control over natural resources and that the oil sands were particularly important, given their value and the scientific challenges that they presented. Peter Lougheed’s role in entrepreneurially shaping institutions was a contingency for the emergence of the cases. It was found that the innovation agencies generally acted to subsidize research activity in other organizations, although there were significant exceptions (e.g. AOSTRA’s IP policy and Underground Test Facilities). Finally, the instrumentality of the organizations was significant, leading to development and adoption of technological systems by industry and enhanced research capabilities at Alberta universities.
Education--Business, Education--Technology, Canadian Studies, Economics--Commerce-Business, Economics--History, Economics--Theory, History--Canadian, Public Administration
Ross, T. (2017). Innovation Agencies in a Resource Based Economy The Case of Alberta: Leadership, Energy, and Innovation (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/26537