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International scientist mobility and the locus of knowledge and technology transfer

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  • Edler, Jakob
  • Fier, Heide
  • Grimpe, Christoph

Abstract

Despite the growing interest of scholars and policymakers to better understand the determinants for researchers in public science to transfer knowledge and technology to firms, little is known how temporary international mobility of scientists affects both their propensity to engage in knowledge and technology transfer (KTT) as well as the locus of such transfer. Based on a sample of more than 950 German academics from science and engineering faculties, we investigate how the duration and the frequency of scientists' visits at research institutions outside their home country affect KTT activities. We find that most mobile scientists engage in KTT to firms both in the host and in their home country, suggesting that KTT activities to firms abroad do not substitute or crowd out, but complement KTT to firms in the home country. We further find that the longer research visits abroad are, the higher the likelihood that scientists engage in KTT to firms, again both in the host and the home country. However, the more frequently scientists visit institutions abroad, the more likely they are to engage in KTT to firms only in their home country. Our results therefore provide evidence for the benefits of "brain circulation". The article contributes to the growing strand of the literature on scientist mobility and on the determinants of industry-science linkages at the individual level.

Suggested Citation

  • Edler, Jakob & Fier, Heide & Grimpe, Christoph, 2011. "International scientist mobility and the locus of knowledge and technology transfer," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 791-805, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:40:y:2011:i:6:p:791-805
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