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PhD Defence Erika Susan Dietrichson: Innovation impact of big science organisations - Conditions, interactions, and knowledge spillover

Erika Susan Dietrichson will defend her PhD project "Innovation impact of big science organisations - Conditions, interactions, and knowledge spillover".


Over the past few decades, the European Union has been working to accelerate economic growth using innovation. European innovation policy has since aimed to make Europe’s economy the most competitive and knowledge-based globally. In such efforts to develop the knowledge economy, recognizing the role of Big Science Organizations (BSOs), large-scale and advanced scientific research in-frastructures, have come to light as actors, separate from universities, with the capacity to foster scientific advancements and, ultimately, human capital devel-opment. Through labor mobility and their collaborations with industry, knowledge spillover stemming from BSOs is paving the way for innovation-led economic growth.

The first BSO emerged in post-war Europe to integrate science and as a mecha-nism to retain European knowledge and skills. As such, the concept of Big Sci-ence has played a role in the political economy of science from its outset. How-ever, university-industry collaboration has become a critical driver for innovation-led economic growth within academic research. From a theoretical standpoint, little attention has been paid to BSOs. Academia has the potential to make sig-nificant contributions to management and innovation policy through research on BSOs as an actor in the innovation ecosystem. Therefore, this dissertation pro-vides a framework for future research and explores the relationship between BSOs, industry, and innovation impact with empirical evidence.

This dissertation comprises three essays to understand the role of BSOs in the evolving science-industry paradigm.

  1. Essay One aims to differentiate Big Science-Industry Collaboration (BSIC) from University-Industry Collaboration (UIC) within the extant literature. In identifying the core differences between these two types of collaborations with industry, this essay produces a research agenda for future BSIC research.
  2. Essay Two considers industry-led human capital development and its effects on the research productivity of BSO scientists at the individual level. The human capital influenced by prior industry professional experience and BSIC experience are examined.
  3. Essay Three studies the effects of Public Pro-curement for Innovation surrounding BSOs at the firm level. This study shows how innovation impact emerges from knowledge spillover through BSIC. To-gether, the three essays delve into the position of BSOs in the evolving science industry paradigm and intend to demonstrate the impact that BSOs have within the knowledge economy.

This dissertation addresses the role of BSOs in the broader knowledge economy through a conceptual and empirical analysis of BSIC. Theoretically, it explores the impact of such collaborations on human capital development and knowledge spillover in society. Practically, this project presents various managerial and pol-icy implications to catalyze scientific and innovation impact.

Keywords: Big science organizations, science-industry collaboration, knowledge production, industrial innovation.

Explore more about Erika Susan Dietrichson's PhD project


Professor Jason Li-Ying, DTU Entrepreneurship, Denmark


Associate Professor Lars Alkærsig, DTU Entrepreneurship, Denmark

Assessment committee:

Associate Professor Maria Theresa Norn, DTU Entrepreneurship, Denmark
Senior Lecturer Josephine Rekers, Lund University, Sweden
Professor Jonahtan Wareham, ESADE Business School, Spain

Chairperson at defence:

Francesco Rosati, Associate Professor, DTU Entrepreneurship, Denmark

A copy of the PhD thesis is available for reading at DTU Entrepreneurship,371, 2nd floor, room 224, Diplomvej, DK-2800 Kgs Lyngby. 


Mon 24 Jun 24
13:00 - 16:00


DTU Entrepreneurship


DTU, Technical University of Denmark
Building 371, room 217
DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby