We are navigating a turbulent environment. 2015 has been a very challenging year for the Triple Helix Association with several positive and less positive events.
First of all, I would like to thank those who have worked for our Association and handled the critical phases – the THA Board, members of our Committees, all those who have competed for and won grants, and especially those individuals and groups who are contributing to the growth of our community through their work. I especially want to thank our Executive Director, Maria Laura Fornaci; Anne Rocha Perazzo, Managing Editor, THJ; and the THA staff and volunteers who have out done themselves this year. I wish to particularly recognize the Hélice Magazine Editors, Devrim Goktepe-Hulten, Sheila Forbes, and Branca Terra, newly joined as Book Review Editor; as well as Christiane Gebhardt, Chair of the THA Publications Committee.
Membership is at an all-time high in absolute terms: we have more than 120 members with a good presence of institutions (25 organisational members) and a real international coverage. Our membership constituency is growing steadily with about three new members per month. This means that our efforts in making the Association more visible, thanks to online and social media communication, and attractive in terms of value proposition are going in the right direction. More should still be done, and I rely on your contribution to promote the THA among your personal networks. We are especially seeking a few special platinum members in support of our Journal.
Conference activity is moving forward although with some critical issues which we are currently managing. The 2015 Conference in Beijing, China, was positive in terms of international participation, feedback, and initiation of a China THA Chapter. The declarations of interest received for hosting our annual events is increasing and come from all over the world. The challenge for 2016 and future years will be to find a sustainable conference model securing the quality of the scientific agenda and contributions, and the financial and operational feasibility for the THA. Our objective is to bring the membership more into the leadership of the conference agenda as track chairs and organizers of special sessions, and to set the overall themes collaboratively with conference proposers. Emanuela Todeva has agreed to serve as Chair of the Scientific Committee and she welcomes volunteers to take the lead on topics of special interest.
The Triple Helix Journal is in its second edition, regularly publishing high-quality empirical and theoretical articles on the Triple Helix and other innovation issues as individual submissions, or as part of special issues or topical collections. Several “topicals” are currently under way, including Post-Soviet Innovation edited by Irina Dezhina, and Intermediaries edited by Emanuela Todeva. The THJ operates with a pre-review process to assist authors, before sending selected candidates for peer review. We are hopeful of continuing to run without author payments, but this will depend upon fund raising success on behalf of the journal, and conference income.
The Journal is performing well and above the Springer average. Our publisher Springer reported 5.609 full text article downloads in mid- 2015. In 2014, the THJ received 43 papers, out of which 23 were accepted – an acceptance rate of 70%. Authors come from all over the world with more contributors from Europe and Asia-Pacific.
The THA Chapters are growing in number and coverage thanks to the set-up in 2015 of the new THA South Asian Chapter and others reinforcing their Governance, such as the Russian Chapter which is now managed by the most important University in Russia, Lomosonow State University in Moscow.
Consultations are underway to set up an Italian Chapter, which will be led by Daniela Baglieri of the University of Messina, one of our new organizational members. Additional efforts should be devoted to both promoting the set-up of new Chapters and in supporting Chapter growth in relation to their capacity to generate widespread new TH knowledge and practices and to attract new members.
Our Webinar Series mobilized about 100 existing and new members, with around six different titles related to the themes of entrepreneurial universities, innovation systems, industry-academia partnership and more. Our appreciation to Tatiana Schofield for her service.
The THA Thematic Research Group initiative launched in 2015 is now up and running and counts on four TRGs managed by two appointed conveners each, who will shortly present a plan to turn into action their TRG agendas. It is expected to bring the TRG’s into alignment with the conference tracks in 2016.
In 2015 the THA successfully engaged in the European Funded Project scenario and has been awarded by the EC, together with a pool of THA members, an ERASMUS+ grant starting in December 2015, to implement the NETMib Project on virtual incubation!
More will be done on this area in the next year by setting up partnerships with consultancy firms and donors to leverage THA capacity to attract funds for unleashing its research and implementation potential.
Other new initiatives for 2016 include a TH Blog, and Lucas Coêlho’s video interviews of THA members for the website.
I also wish to mention special initiatives such as the Entrepreneurial University Metrics Project, including the US National Science Foundation Workshop grant, led by Denis Gray; the Leiden Workshop, led by Robert Tijssen; and the first successful research grant application in support of the project, accomplished by Mariza Almeida, through the State of Rio de Janeiro Innovation Agency.
Your THA looks forward to your initiatives and contributions! Please send your ideas to Maria Laura and I.
Finally, May I propose that each member nominate two individuals and/or organisations, with a commitment to the theory and practice of innovation, for membership. Please send nominations to: *email address protected*.
With all best wishes to you for a productive new year.
Professor Henry Etzkowitz
President, Triple Helix Association