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Finding the right partners: Institutional and personal modes of governance of university–industry interactions

Listed author(s):
  • Bodas Freitas, Isabel Maria
  • Geuna, Aldo
  • Rossi, Federica

We study two different governance modes of university–industry interactions: in the institutional mode, interactions are mediated by the university through its administrative structures (such as departments or dedicated units such as technology transfer offices), while in the personal contractual mode interactions involve formal and binding contractual agreements between firms and individual academics, carried out without the direct involvement of the university. We argue that the choice of which form of governance to adopt involves different decision-making processes for firms and that both governance forms have important roles to play in the context of university–industry knowledge transfer. Relying on a representative sample of firms in the Italian region of Piedmont, we examine the characteristics and strategies of firms that interact with universities under different governance modes. Our results indicate that ignoring personal contractual arrangements with individual researchers, as the previous literature does, amounts to overlooking at least 50% of university–industry interactions. The econometric estimations suggest that personal contractual interactions are used relatively more by small firms involved in technology and open innovation strategies, while institutional interactions are mostly used by large firms that vertically integrate R&D activities.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733312001564
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 42 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 50-62

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:1:p:50-62
DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.06.007
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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  1. Mueller, Pamela, 2006. "Exploring the knowledge filter: How entrepreneurship and university-industry relationships drive economic growth," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1499-1508, December.
  2. Geuna, Aldo & Rossi, Federica, 2011. "Changes to university IPR regulations in Europe and the impact on academic patenting," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1068-1076, October.
  3. Francesco Lissoni & Patrick Llerena & Maureen McKelvey & Bulat Sanditov, 2008. "Academic patenting in Europe: new evidence from the KEINS database," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 87-102, June.
  4. Brownstone, David & Small, Kenneth A, 1989. "Efficient Estimation of Nested Logit Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 7(1), pages 67-74, January.
  5. Veugelers, Reinhilde & Cassiman, Bruno, 1999. "Make and buy in innovation strategies: evidence from Belgian manufacturing firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 63-80, January.
  6. Mansfield, Edwin, 1991. "Academic research and industrial innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-12, February.
  7. Isabel Freitas & Tommy Clausen & Roberto Fontana & Bart Verspagen, 2011. "Formal and informal external linkages and firms’ innovative strategies. A cross-country comparison," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 91-119, February.
  8. Richard Jensen & Jerry Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2010. "University-Industry Spillovers, Government Funding, and Industrial Consulting," NBER Working Papers 15732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gustavo Crespi & Aldo Geuna & Onder Nomaler & Bart Verspagen, 2010. "University IPRs and knowledge transfer: is university ownership more efficient?," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(7), pages 627-648.
  10. Bronwyn H. Hall & Albert N. Link & John T. Scott, 2003. "Universities as Research Partners," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 485-491, May.
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