This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only
1.6 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
To promote industry sustainability and to catalyze links between publicly-funded knowledge providers and companies, the Irish government has invested significantly in food-orientated research and development. This project aims to facilitate a greater understanding of the motivations and barriers influencing the decision by small and medium-sized food enterprises (SME) to invest in technological innovation, emanating from research conducted in publicly-funded organisations. A critical review of the literature was used to develop a framework for investigating the uptake of technological innovations from sources external to the company. In order to ground this framework within the specific context of the Irish food industry, a series of in-depth interviews were conducted with key food industry representatives (n=7). Building from the literature and exploratory interviews, a postal survey of Irish food SMEs was undertaken (n=399). A response rate of 31.8% (n=117) was achieved. An open innovation scale was constructed from measures of the perceived relevance of academia, support agencies and publicly-funded research. Results of t-tests for independence indicated that companies which showed a propensity towards open innovation were more likely to have performed product [F(1, 118)=3.9, p=0.05] and process [F(1, 111)=3.7, p<0.001] innovations in the last three years. The proclivity towards open innovation varied significantly across sectors, with the preparedconsumer goods (x̅=3.9, SD=0.61) sector scoring a significantly higher open innovation mean than the others sector i.e. beverage, seafood and fresh produce (x̅=3.4, SD=0.57). Issues arising from earlier research steps were further clarified in a number of followup, in-depth interviews, with representatives from SMEs (n=6). By understanding the barriers and drivers to industry uptake of publicly-funded food research, targeted supports can be constructed to facilitate technological innovation within food SMEs, and in doing so, maximise return from the States investment in food-orientated R&D.
Kavanagh, G.: A Study of the Factors that Influence Early Stage Technology Investment by Food Enterprises. M. Phil Thesis. Dublin Institute of Technology, 2011