Innovation Processes and Environmental Planning : Science and Technology Policies in a Regional Context

Abstract: The understanding of environmental change and how it is influenced by innovation processes and advances in science and technology is multifaceted given the inherent uncertainty of the pace and direction of technology change, but also given the limits to anticipate future environmental effects of new technology. The doctoral thesis is organised in two parts. The covering essay constitutes the first part and is aimed at introducing the scope of the research; outlining theoretical perspectives and central concepts and positioning the research to other research studies. Reprints of the six papers included in the thesis comprise the second part of the thesis. The first aim of this doctoral thesis is to contribute to an increased understanding of the conditions for environmental policy and planning through innovation, science policy and technological change. Particular attention is paid to the institutional frameworks for policy processes, public-private interactive policy and strategic planning with futures studies. The second aim is to explore and analyse approaches applied for assessing the output, impact and structure of science in the area of strategic environmental research. This includes an examination of research assessment criteria and an analysis of knowledge networks in strategic environmental research, characterised by socio-economic expectations of generating innovations that benefit the environment through the industrial application of science. Four types of environmental planning are studied using a combined qualitative and quantitative research approach. These are corporate environmental planning, public environmental planning, strategic long-term planning, and strategic science planning targeting advances in science and technology to attain environmental objectives. The findings of the study show that institutional frameworks of science and technology policy affecting environmental planning are found in organisational forms, such as science parks, but also in institutions understood as values and norms of the science system. With an increased focus on assessment of research as well as future technology, the findings of the study also contributes by examining approaches applied for assessing the output, structure and impact of research, using bibliometrics and social network analysis in the area of strategic environmental research.