Anne Bruce: Pigs and Chips, a case study of an agricultural innovation ecosystem
Pigford, Hickey and Klerkx (2018) explored the possible contribution that an agricultural innovation ecosystem approach might make to understanding transitions to sustainability. We have used such an ecosystem approach to study the way in which UK pig genetics companies appropriated genomics technologies to create value for their businesses. This is not so much a transitions to sustainability as transitions to biotechnology.
Here we are not dealing with niche-regime interactions but rather how SMEs in an existing regime have undertaken radical innovation. Our findings identify key roles of a social history of interactions and collaborations, the role of key individuals and key infrastructure, the availability of public funding at critical junctions and the crucial entry of new companies to the ecosystem - manufacturing DNA-chips - that made the innovation possible. While our study is UK focussed, it is clear that Dutch pig genetics companies, such as Topigs, were also involved in this process.