Stanford professor to explain how Ireland can become innovation nation

23 Jun 2010

Professor Woody Powell, a leading economic sociologist at Stanford University, California, believes Ireland can excel at innovation by utilising collaborative networks and developing high-tech clusters.

In the course of his work, Powell has examined the transfer of university science into commercial development by technology-based companies, and the emergence of new problem-driven areas of science. As part of his research into the biotechnology industry in the US, Powell studied 11 regions that were rich in resources such as scientific knowledge, money and business skills. Each community had the potential prerequisites needed to form biotech clusters, yet only three formed robust clusters while the other eight did not.

Speaking the InterTradeIreland All-island 2010 Innovation Conference at University College Dublin on 28 and 29 June, Powell will explain the factors required to build robust business clusters and how these can be applied to Ireland.

“During my keynote address I will outline the key factors and explain the role that collaborative networks play in forming robust biotech clusters in the US. The lessons I have drawn from my research are transferable to other industrial sectors, and could be instrumental in the development of a robust knowledge-based economy on the island of Ireland,” Powell said.

“Connectivity is the key that can unlock and transfer creative potential into commercial reality. Forming these connections around an enterprise, across this island and beyond is a key aim of InterTradeIreland and this two-day conference. It is critical to the future competitiveness of the island,” said Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland’s strategy and policy director.

Other speakers at innovation conference

Other speakers and panelists at the conference include some of the island’s leading business and academic leaders who will share their expertise and insight as to the potential opportunities of using collaborative networks to drive and facilitate innovation. Among them is Intel’s Dr Martin Curley, who believes future innovation will be driven by high-tech clusters.

“Mass collaboration will be a dominant paradigm for innovation in the knowledge economy; collaborative networks and innovation will be a foundation for this,” Curley said.

The InterTradeIreland All-island 2010 Innovation Conference is being organised by NovaUCD, the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre and UCD’s Innovation Research Unit.

By Deirdre Nolan