Winner of the ‘The Best Conference Paper Award’ at the Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2-3 October 2009.
This article focuses on the wide variety of channels through which the process of knowledge transfer occurs. The overall objective is to show the complexity of relationships between researchers and firms in a university system, and to identify some specific factors that influence such interactions. Our case study involves a face-to-face survey of 765 heads of research teams in a regional system to contrast the multiple forms of university-industry collaborative linkages. Drawing on the exploitation of a data set developed for the purpose, we show that for a majority of universities the thrust of their collaborative experiences is devoted to tacit knowledge rather than to intellectual property rights. Researchers actively engage in the provision of different services to firms such as consulting work, commissioned or joint research projects, and human resources training. Research teams also participate in non-academic knowledge dissemination and informal networking. The results of our study enable us to draw some policy implications for university administrators and policymakers. A focus on patents and spin-offs as indicators of collaborative research ignores the limits of many of the economic and productive contexts in which universities are embedded. It may also be detrimental to the strengthening of emerging trends that are oriented towards softer collaborative experiences and other forms of knowledge transfer.
- university-industry relationships,
- science policy
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/manuel_fernandez_esquinas/21/