The political economy of research and innovation in organic photovoltaics (OPV) in different world regions

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Purpose: In this paper, we examine the status, prospects and
organization of OPV research, innovation and governance in three major
world regions: Northern America, Western Europe and East Asia through
our constructed evolutionary cognitive-institutional framework of
Method: We gathered data from a 65-question internet-based survey
conducted from February 2013 to April 2013 with OPV researchers and
research managers around the world. A multi-method
(investigative/exploratory, descriptive statistics) approach is used for
analyses and discussions.
Results: Overall findings show that the organization of OPV research,
innovation and governance in Northern America, Western Europe and East
Asia reflect similar aspects, patterns with their political economies
surveyed in the literature: Northern America's neo-liberal market and
finance orientation, Western Europe's orientation to sustainable
development and policy-driven research, coordinated-regulatory
inspirations and research-driven system, and East Asia's
neo-developmental state view with international trade, technology-export
orientation. Commercialization prospects in China are lowest and highest
in the US but even there expectations of market sales are low. As a
disruptive technology which is competing with older generations of PV
and other energy technologies, OPV requires a coordinated effort
involving international cooperation, the use of public and private
money. Positive elements of the three world regions (availability of
venture capital in the US, the meritocratic research system and
ambitious goals for renewable energy in the EU, and the willingness of
the Chinese government to back sunrise industries) could be usefully

Keywords: Political Economy, Emerging Energy Technology, Research,
Innovation, Governance, Organic Photovoltaics
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Publication series

SeriesUNU-MERIT Working Papers

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