3D Bioprinting human organs: An upcoming solution for the global human organ shortage
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With the increasing shortage of human organs globally, 3D bioprinted organs appear as a suitable solution. While its technological developments are often explored, little is known about the emerging 3D bioprinting organs innovation system (3D-BOIS) and its adoption at an organizational level. Hence, this research focused on two illustrative cases: University of California San Francisco Medical Centre and University Medical Center Utrecht. California is the frontrunner concerning 3D bioprinting organs, whereas the Dutch appear to be catching up. Hereby, developments from 2009 have been chosen as the Californian medical laboratory Organovo had a significant breakthrough in 3D bioprinted organs, resulting in the following research question: "What are the barriers and potential solutions concerning hospitals' Institutional Readiness for the innovation system of 3D bioprinting organs in California and The Netherlands based on the emerging 3D bioprinting organ innovation system developments throughout 2009 – 2020?". To answer this question, the Technological Innovation System (TIS) and Institutional Readiness (IR) approach were combined into an integrated conceptual framework. The former was applied to obtain insights into hampering aspects in the emerging 3D-BOIS. An event analysis was performed, using information from desk research, on five out of the seven system functions: 1 (Entrepreneurial activities), 3 (Knowledge diffusion), 4 (Guidance of the search), 5 (Market formation), and 7 (Creation of legitimacy). The IR was applied as specific barriers can arise for healthcare innovations on an organizational level. This was analyzed by conducting semi-structured interviews with experts, either experienced within organ transplantations or innovations surrounding organ shortage. The findings indicated two common barriers for both 3D-BOIS's: 1) the need for a regulatory framework for 3D bioprinted organs and 2) the necessity for financial support by the Dutch government and venture capitalists in California. Further, two specific barriers were observed for the Californian and Dutch 3D-BOIS. Regarding the former, key actors within the Californian hospital are not fully aware of how different actors perceive 3D bioprinting technology nor which novel technologies can solve organ shortage. Concerning the Dutch 3D-BOIS, a high dependency on Dutch governmental institutions for financial resources for 3D bioprinting research and the ability of Dutch hospital staff to anticipate organizational challenges during the adoption of 3D bioprinted organs were observed. Further, this study corroborates a connection between the system functions and IR categories as the interactions between innovation on systemic and organizational levels are shown. Lastly, as this thesis focuses on developing the 3D bioprinting organs' innovation system technique, it provides a good starting point for developing a refined, integrated framework for interactions between TIS and IR.