Using technology absorption as an evaluation criterion: Case studies from a state research and development program

Gordon Kingsley, Michael C. Farmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

State agencies sponsoring local research and development projects often finance the development of technologies in partnership with other organizations. These contracting partners develop and demonstrate the new technology. This study distinguishes between two types of outcomes from such projects. Technology absorption is the adoption of a technology by an organization participating in the project. Technology transfer is the process by which outcomes are adopted by organizations outside the project (i.e., nonparticipants). From an evaluation perspective, research and development projects that result in the absorption of technology, without any subsequent transfer, are difficult to assess. Often these outcomes are counted the same as a transfer even though the process is subsidized by the state. Three case studies of absorption outcomes are presented. Absorption projects tend to be distinctive because: (a) they develop technologies that are very large in scale and very complex; (b) project leadership typically is provided by an end-user who attempts to employ the technology for commercial purposes; (c) success is measured through the technological accomplishment and ongoing commercial venture rather than by the number of adopting organizations; and (d) they produce spillover benefits in the cohesion of the social networks formed among project participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-450
Number of pages15
JournalPolicy Studies Journal
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

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