Enriching innovation ecosystems: The role of government in a university science park

Sunny Li Sun, Yanli Zhang, Yuhua Cao, Jielin Dong, John Cantwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The direct top-down approach and indirect bottom-up approach are two ends of the spectrum in the role of government in developing an innovation ecosystem. Taking a hybrid approach, we develop the concept of the ecosystem enricher who fertilizes the interactions and linkages of multiple stakeholders in innovation ecosystems. In an in-depth case study of the Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District (SEID), we find that the local government has played an enricher role in directly driving university-industry connections from a mainly top-down approach. Yet many issues remain and more bottom-up policies are needed. We group these issues into three areas: priority setting in university development, university-industry collaborations, and innovation and entrepreneurship intermediaries. Our findings also highlight both the benefits and liabilities in the top-down approach of government policy in driving innovation ecosystems and how a hybrid of the top-down and bottom-up approach is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-119
Number of pages16
JournalGlobal Transitions
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Government-led university science park
  • Innovation ecosystems
  • Regional innovation
  • University-industry connections


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