Title: Supporting and evaluating emerging technologies: a review of approaches

Authors: Harro Van Lente

Addresses: Associate Professor Innovation Studies, Faculty of Geosciences, Department of Innovation and Environmental Studies, University of Utrecht, PO BOX 80115, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract: New technologies, such as genomics or nanotechnology, emerge together with high expectations and with huge uncertainties. This creates a specific condition for innovation policies and their evaluation. The reduction of uncertainty – especially needed in emerging technologies – may actually lead to unfavourable situations, such as rigid routines that hinder innovative new options or protective niches that foster less-adapted technology. Three dedicated approaches to evaluate and orient emerging technologies are reviewed that start from, respectively, technology assessment, the formation of niches and the formation of networks. These approaches seek to monitor, evaluate and optimise the processes by which technologies are shaped and stimulate learning between all parties involved.

Keywords: emerging technologies; uncertainty; technology dynamics; technology evaluation; technology policy; innovation policy; technology assessment; niche formation; network formation; niches; networks.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTPM.2010.032857

International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management, 2010 Vol.10 No.1/2, pp.104 - 115

Published online: 25 Apr 2010 *

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