Open Innovation: A Study of Industry-University Collaboration in Environmental R&D in Hong Kong

By Jacqueline Chi Kei Lam, Peter Hills and Clever K.W. Ng.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Innovation plays a key role in driving industries to gain competitive advantage. Increasingly, open innovation is considered a key driver to help industries accelerate the rate of innovation through exploitation of the free flow of internal and external knowledge and expertise. With the external input of expertise and knowledge, industries can acquire stronger capability for innovation, and achieve better competitiveness than those which rely only on traditional closed innovation approach. Industries, especially small and medium enterprises, are particularly interested in partnering with universities as niche collaborators due to their innovation competence.
In face of intensive global competition, university-industry collaboration has been advocated by the government as a form of open innovation to enhance the development and commercialization of niche technologies for the environment. In 2009–2010, Hong Kong ranked third in Global Innovation Index, out of 132 economies surveyed. In terms of university-industry collaboration, Hong Kong ranked twenty-seven. To gain a deeper understanding of what determines industry-university innovation, this study focusses on all cleaner energy and environmental-oriented Innovation-and-Technology (ITF) funded projects that have been approved since the establishment of Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Fund in 1999 and that have involved university-industry collaboration. A total of 145 out of 2,345 ITF funded projects that carry the theme of cleaner energy and environment research and development during 1999–2010 have been selected. Quantitative surveys and qualitative face-to-face interviews have been conducted to identify what drivers and barriers for this group of ITF industries are involved in their engagement in industry-university collaboration, and why these drivers and barriers exist. The result obtained shows that majority of the local industries surveyed and interviewed are eager to collaborate with universities in environmental innovation for competitive advantage, especially for gaining reputations and securing future business opportunities. However, huge obstacles exist for local industries to partner with universities, especially for the SMEs, due to policy and institutional constraints. Innovation policies in support of SME innovation and institutional mechanisms to help SMEs find the right university partners are particularly relevant and critical for promoting open innovation (in the form of university-industry collaboration) in environmental and cleaner energy research among local industries in future.

Keywords: Open Innovation, Driver, Barrier, Innovation Policy, Industry-University Collaboration, Environment, Research and Development, Innovation and Technology Funded Projects, Hong Kong

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp.83-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.116MB).

Dr. Jacqueline Chi Kei Lam

Postdoctoral Fellow, Kadoorie Institute, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Dr. Jacqueline Lam is the Research Assistant Professor of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, the University of Hong Kong. Her research covers three areas including: (1) conditions that govern the process of clean energy transitions in the society and the approaches for managing these transitions, (2) policies and strategies that can effectively stimulate the process of socio-technological change and their relative potentials, and (3) ways to engage the society and build trust for more effective energy governance. She has close connections with the industry, government and the society. Her work carries a strong element of university-industry collaboration, community education and outreach. Dr. Lam is the recipient of the 2012-13 university-wide Research Assistant Professorship, and also a core member of the open innovation network, Initiative on Clean Energy and Environment. Prior to joining the Department (2008-12), she was a teaching consultant and postdoctoral fellow of the Kadoorie Institute in HKU.

Prof. Peter Hills

Director, Kadoorie Institute, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Professor Peter Hills is the Director of Kadoorie Institute, the University of Hong Kong. His research interests centre on the relationship between environmental and sustainability issues and the policy-making process. Over the years, his personal research agenda has moved on from an early interest in transport-environment issues and applications of environmental impact assessment (EIA), to energy-environment problems and more recently to environmental policy processes, environmental governance, sustainable development and ecological modernisation. He has acted as a consultant to various international organizations, including The United Nations Development Programme, The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, The Asian Development Bank, The International Labour Office, The Asian and Pacific Development Centre, and The European Union. He has recently been working as a consultant for the EU-funded Urban Environmental Planning Programme – Vietnam which has been assisting the Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture to upgrade its urban planning programmes.

Clever K.W. Ng

Student of MSc in Environmental Management, The University of Hong Kong, China

Clever K.W. Ng holds a BBA from Sun Yat-sen University. Her fields of interest are Small and Medium Enterprises and the Environment in Hong Kong; Open Innovation; Social Enterprises in Hong Kong and Mainland China; Sustainability Studies. She has developed interest in Corporate Social Responsibility of SMEs and SEs since bachelor study in Sun Yat-sen University. She was deeply involved in environmental improvement projects and CSR-employees engagement for a SME company. Her recent research study focuses on open innovation especially on the university-industry collaboration in environmental and cleaner energy Innovation and Technology Fund-funded projects in Hong Kong.


There are currently no reviews of this product.

Write a Review