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Keeping together: Which factors characterise persistent university–industry collaboration on innovation?


  • Østergaard, Christian Richter
  • Drejer, Ina


This paper investigates what distinguishes persistence in relation to university–industry collaboration on innovation from the initiation and discontinuation of a collaboration. The underlying premise is that if a firm continues to collaborate with a university, it must consider that collaboration to be valuable. A quantitative analysis of over 2600 firms reveals that persistence is relatively common in university–industry collaborations on innovation, with more than a third of firms that engage in university collaboration continuing to collaborate with the same university over two consecutive periods. In addition, the analysis shows that firms’ investments in collaborative capabilities and different dimensions of absorptive capacity are instrumental for persistent collaboration with a university. Furthermore, persistent collaboration with a university is strongly associated with the strategic choice to engage in sustained collaboration with a broad range of partner types. Finally, the analysis reveals that geographical proximity between a firm and a university may facilitate the initiation of a collaboration, although the nearest university is not necessarily the most suitable partner. This is illustrated by the finding that geographical proximity between a firm and a university does not matter for keeping together in a persistent collaboration.

Suggested Citation

  • Østergaard, Christian Richter & Drejer, Ina, 2022. "Keeping together: Which factors characterise persistent university–industry collaboration on innovation?," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:techno:v:111:y:2022:i:c:s016649722100170x
    DOI: 10.1016/j.technovation.2021.102389

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Zhao, Yang & Yongquan, Yang & Jian, Ma & Lu, Angela & Xuanhua, Xu, 2024. "Policy-induced cooperative knowledge network, university-industry collaboration and firm innovation: Evidence from the Greater Bay Area," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
    3. Becker, Bettina & Roper, Stephen & Vanino, Enrico, 2023. "Assessing innovation spillovers from publicly funded R&D and innovation support: Evidence from the UK," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    4. Lei Hou & Jiashan Luo & Xue Pan, 2022. "Research Topic Specialization of Universities in Information Science and Library Science and Its Impact on Inter-University Collaboration," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(15), pages 1-14, July.
    5. Castelnovo, Paolo & Clò, Stefano & Florio, Massimo, 2023. "A quasi-experimental design to assess the innovative impact of public procurement: An application to the Italian space industry," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).

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