Accepted Paper:

Making Bio Economy Happen: on the commodification of bio-medical research  


Bernhard Wieser (Graz University of Technology)
Luka Jakelja (Alpen-Adria-Universit├Ąt Klagenfurt)
Michaela Mayrhofer (BBMRI-ERIC)

Paper short abstract:

What is the knowledge basis deployed in the attempt to create a supportive environment for the commodification of bio-medical research? The ways in which intermediary actors integrate tacit and codified knowledge will be discussed.

Paper long abstract:

Genome research was and still is expected to deliver the basis for a prospering bio economy. After some disenchantment over the seemingly low hanging fruits of the Human Genome Project and other large-scale research programmes in its wake, the challenge remains how to stimulate bio-economic development. This paper looks into policy practices on a regional level and explores the ways in which policy makers, research managers, network coordinators and other intermediary actors attempt to create an environment that is supportive for the commodification of bio-medical research. The creation of such an environment requires decisions. The challenge for the relevant decision makers is not only to determine the best way of investing scarce resources, but they also need to justify their decisions. Drawing on Sheila Jasanoff's "civic epistemology", this paper explores the knowledge basis deployed to justify propositions for making bio-economic prosperity happen.

A qualitative study has been performed in order to shed more light on intermediary actors and their contribution in turning bio-medical research into economic assets. The role of tacit knowledge will be discussed in relation to codified knowledge as provided by academic literature, including economic and STS literature. Yet, commodification is not a matter of course. It is therefore equally important to understand the ways in which the results of bio-medical research fail to become assets.

The context of this study is a region in Austria that hosts four universities and two universities of applied sciences, a large European research facility and numerous SMEs in the bio-medical field.

Panel T005
Turning Things into Assets