Synergies and Tensions in Innovation in the Life Sciences (STILS) (completed)

The project is an investigation of life science innovation and the policies and actors that support it.

The project is a comparative case study of the universities/university hospitals in Oslo, Gothenburg, and Copenhagen as the central nodes in sectorial science and innovation systems.

Our analysis will focus on two important fields: cancer research and central nervous system research.



About the project

Cancer research and research on the central nervous system are high-profile areas with high expectations of innovation.

The three main research questions are related to:

1. The changing relationship between universities and hospitals

2. The challenges to universities from policy and structural changes in the life science industry

3. The role of intermediary organizations such as technology transfer offices.

The project will be based on interviews, document analyses, studies of patents and publications, policy/practitioner workshops, and more.


Our perspective is a combination of a sectoral innovation system approach and an approach emphasizing the role of hybrid organizations in creating synergies and balancing tensions in complex innovation processes involving science, industry and medical practice.

There are e.g. obvious synergies between private sector innovation and public sector innovation in the life science field, but also most likely tensions between these two types of innovation and possibly between goals of private sector growth and health sector needs to cut costs and dealing with challenges like an aging population.

The project is thus founded on central policy and societal developments. Norwegian white papers on research and on innovation emphasize health sector and health services innovation as one of the most important goals of the public efforts. R&D investments have increased, but the system has also undergone important structural changes like foreign takeovers and mergers of commercialization support actors. These will be among the topics in the project.


The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway through the programme Kunnskapsgrunnlaget for forsknings- og innovasjonspolitikken (FORFI).

Published July 5, 2011 11:16 AM - Last modified May 22, 2019 9:45 AM