The activities of innovation system actors, particularly the importance of networks, entrepreneurs, and the role of intermediaries have not yet been integrated into a framework that explains innovation system performance at the project level. This study contributes by exploring the role of the innovation system's actors with respect to its performance. Innovation system performance is studied using multiple cases of projects using statistical inference, network analysis, and fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis. The number of actors effectively involved in projects is positively associated with innovation system performance. The network of relationships in the case study innovation system was relatively open, such that the contribution of some actors only became available to the system through the conduit of other actors. Both researchers and intermediaries are highly involved and effective, and the intermediaries’ effectiveness contributes to innovation system performance. However, the perceived involvement or effectiveness of these and other actors did not, alone, ensure that the conditions required for innovation system performance were met. The research method and results apply to any innovation project, particularly those in highly regulated, technological fields. The present study's findings demonstrate the application of innovation system theory at the project level. The study has important implications for integrating entrepreneurial marketing into innovation system policy and practice.