This special issue brings together a number of contributions that explore relationships at the intersection between university, industry and government. As is so often the case, a workshop provided the starting point for discussions that have ultimately led to this collection of articles. The London Triple Helix conference 2013 served as the venue for a number of us to meet and discuss where applied research might be going. Unsurprisingly, rather than finding answers, we began asking more questions. We then brought in more contributors ? and they identified further unanswered questions. The result is the special issue before you, an issue that befits a critical journal of innovation studies. Its six contributions offer very different perspectives. We start with a review of various Triple Helix models, explore how other approaches can enrich Triple Helix thinking, delve into the wealth of case studies and empirical analyses, and then conclude with the unanswered questions.