Networking for the creation and diffusion of environmentally beneficial innovations – A story of success from the German metal working industry –
Meike Svenja Espenhorst1 and Martin Dyck2, (1)University of Heidelberg, graduate program "environmental and resource economics", Germany; (2)University of Karlsruhe, Germany
This paper sketches the story of two follow-up collaborative projects (similar to “specific targeted research projects” of the sixth framework programme of the EU) carried out by institutes for applied research, suppliers and users in the German metal-working industry. These projects concentrated on the displacement of cooling lubricants (CLs) by innovating and diffusing dry machining in the metal-working industry. That technology provides numerous economic, ecological and social improvements. Being conducted sequentially with partly identical actors, from an analytical point of view, these collaborative projects can be regarded as nuclei for a changing network. The empirical example is taken for a case study to explore how such a network can be evolved and used successfully for the innovation and dissemination of an environmentally friendly integrated technology. Special emphasis is laid on the change of roles and the adoption of new roles according to the alteration of tasks in the innovation and diffusion process over time. The aim is to generate hints for the transferability of such a network with the outlook to specify a policy instrument that meets the recommendation of the OECD (1999). It states that for the diffusion of environmentally beneficial technologies the best overall approach is to integrate “information sources and technology diffusion services into a broad co-operation network”.

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