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Boundary spanning between industry and university: the role of Technology Transfer Centres

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  • Anna Comacchio

    ()

  • Sara Bonesso

    ()

  • Claudio Pizzi

    ()

Abstract

Technology Transfer Centres (TTCs) have been analyzed in the last few years by focusing on the relationship between a TTC, provider of knowledge-intensive services, and a firm client-receiver. Less attention has been devoted to a more complex relationship which involves in the dyadic provider-receiver tie a third relevant body, University. We provide both a theoretical and an empirical contribution by studying whether TTCs can bond the academic and industrial system and we define the activities that make-up this role such as: scanning and selection of R&D opportunities, bridge building, semantic translation of domain specific knowledge, co-production of new knowledge. The boundary spanning role of TTCs is discussed drawing on different and complementary theoretical perspectives. Moreover, we test research hypotheses on the antecedents of boundary spanning activity from a knowledge-based perspective. We argue that TTC boundary spanners need to leverage on both technical skills and networking competences. Empirical investigation has been carried out with a survey of the TTC population of North East Italy. The research findings highlight the task coordination activities implied by a boundary spanning role in joint R&D projects and show that the endowment of human capital at individual level and a qualified social capital at individual and organizational level are the main determinants. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Comacchio & Sara Bonesso & Claudio Pizzi, 2012. "Boundary spanning between industry and university: the role of Technology Transfer Centres," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 37(6), pages 943-966, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jtecht:v:37:y:2012:i:6:p:943-966 DOI: 10.1007/s10961-011-9227-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Annelore Huyghe & Mirjam Knockaert & Mike Wright & Evila Piva, 2014. "Technology transfer offices as boundary spanners in the pre-spin-off process: the case of a hybrid model," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 289-307, August.
    2. repec:eee:tefoso:v:123:y:2017:i:c:p:45-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Gao, Yu & Gao, Shanxing & Zhou, Yunyue & Huang, Kuo-Feng, 2015. "Picturing firms' institutional capital-based radical innovation under China's institutional voids," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(6), pages 1166-1175.
    4. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9490-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. da Silva, Luiz Eduardo & Karabag, Solmaz Filiz & Berggren, Christian, 2017. "Collaboration in international technology transfer: the role of knowledge boundaries and boundary objects," MPRA Paper 83094, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Igone Porto & Jose Ramón Otegi, 2014. "Intra and extra regional openness: The role of ?trust? builders as Open Innovation Intermediaries," ERSA conference papers ersa14p462, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Elena Giaretta, 2014. "The trust “builders” in the technology transfer relationships: an Italian science park experience," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(5), pages 675-687, October.
    8. Vincent Mangematin & Paul O’Reilly & James Cunningham, 2014. "PIs as boundary spanners, science and market shapers," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 1-10, February.
    9. repec:enr:rpaper:0020 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Giannopoulou Eleni & Barlatier Pierre-Jean & Pénin Julien, 2017. "Same but Different? The impact of Research and Technology Organizations versus Universities on firms’ innovation," Working Papers of BETA 2017-09, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    11. repec:isv:jouijm:v:6:y:2017:i:1:p:53-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Fitzgerald, Louise & Harvey, Gill, 2015. "Translational networks in healthcare? Evidence on the design and initiation of organizational networks for knowledge mobilization," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 192-200.
    13. Bourke, Jane & Roper, Stephen, 2016. "AMT adoption and innovation: An investigation of dynamic and complementary effects," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 55, pages 42-55.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Boundary spanning; Technology Transfer Centres; University-industry linkage; SMEs; Joint R&D projects; Human capital; J24; L14; L24; O32; O33;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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