Working with distant researchers--Distance and content in university-industry interaction
This paper studies the role of geographic proximity for interaction on R&D, by exploring the special case of formalised university-industry interaction in the engineering sector. While numerous studies find that geographic proximity facilitates spillover effects between university and industry by utilising evidence from e.g. patenting and publishing activities, the geographical dimension is largely understudied in studies that report evidence from direct interaction. A series of interviews with R&D managers suggests that linkages in geographical proximity are more likely than distant linkages to generate impulses to innovation and create significant learning effects at the firm. Similarly, geographic proximate interaction is more likely to successfully contribute to R&D projects with short time to market. For long-term R&D projects, geographic proximity is generally seen as a less critical factor. A survey to 425 R&D managers in Swedish engineering firms provides evidence that supports these hypotheses.
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