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Capturing Knowledge: Private Gains and Public Gains from University Research Partnerships


  • Link, Albert N.


In this monograph I ask: Does university involvement in the research of private firms enhance the firm's private gains as well as society's public gains? To address this question I analyzed, in an exploratory manner, data relevant to firm-based research projects funded by the U.S. Small Business Innovation (SBIR) program. The data suggest that when a university is involved in a Phase II SBIR project it does realize private gains in the form of greater patenting activity and greater employment growth. However, university involvement is not related to such public gains descriptors as the likelihood that the technology from the SBIR project will be commercialized, the likelihood that the developed technology will be licensed to other U.S. entities, or the likelihood that the firm will enter into a research and development agreement with other U.S. entities. I conclude from my study that firms that receive SBIR research awards are very strategic about involving a university as a research partner. Perhaps such firms only involve universities in activities through which they can appropriate most, if not all, of the related benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Link, Albert N., 2015. "Capturing Knowledge: Private Gains and Public Gains from University Research Partnerships," Foundations and Trends(R) in Entrepreneurship, now publishers, vol. 11(3), pages 139-206, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:fntent:0300000061

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    Cited by:

    1. Dennis Patrick Leyden, 2016. "Universities as partners in research joint ventures," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(4), pages 449-462, December.
    2. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9481-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:kap:sbusec:v:52:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9953-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. John T. Scott, 2016. "Creativity for invention insights: corporate strategies and opportunities for public entrepreneurship," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(4), pages 409-448, December.
    5. repec:kap:jtecht:v:43:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10961-017-9633-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:spr:scient:v:112:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2353-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:kap:jtecht:v:43:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10961-017-9624-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Martin S. Andersen & Jeremy W. Bray & Albert N. Link, 2017. "On the failure of scientific research: an analysis of SBIR projects funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 112(1), pages 431-442, July.
    9. Elias G. Carayannis & Mike Provance & Evangelos Grigoroudis, 2016. "Entrepreneurship ecosystems: an agent-based simulation approach," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 631-653, June.

    More about this item


    Technology transfer; Small business; Public-private partnerships; Knowledge spillover;

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives


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