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What Makes Research Socially Useful ? Complementarities between in-House Research and Firm-University Collaboration in Biotechnology

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  • Michelle Gittelman
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    [eng] This paper analyses the published scientific papers of a large sample of biotechnology firms to study the relationship between firm-level research capabilities and collaboration with university scientists. The study presents new findings on the relationship of firm age, research capabilities, and collaboration. Firm-level research capabilities are measured as citations to papers. Younger firms publish more highlycited papers, supporting a view of firm founding to exploit new knowledge at the frontier of discovery. Collaboration with academic researchers increases citations to firm-authored papers, but only for firms with weaker in-house research capabilities. Firms with strong internal research capabilities do not benefit (in terms of increased citations) from collaboration, but are much more likely to collaborate with scientists at prestigious universities. The results show that firm-university collaboration involves knowledge transfer for some firms. At the same time, ties between firms and academic scientists may not represent an efficient mode of knowledge transfer as much as the adoption of the norms of open science by firms, whether as a strategy to gain privileged entry into scientific networks or simply because their managers are scientists who have a taste for academic research. [fre] Cet article se base sur les publications scientifiques d'un échantillon important d'entreprises de biotechnologies. Il étudie la relation entre les capacités de recherche privée et l'intensité des collaborations entre scientifiques privés et universitaires. L'étude présente des résultats originaux montrant l'existence d'une relation positive entre l'âge de l'entreprise, ses capacités de recherche et l'intensité de ses collaborations avec les universitaires. Les capacités de recherche de la firme sont mesurées à partir des citations de leurs articles publiés. Nous trouvons qu'en moyenne, ce sont les entreprises les plus jeunes qui publient les articles les plus cités, confirmant ainsi l'idée que les entreprises en création ont tendance à exploiter des connaissances à la frontière des découvertes. Par ailleurs, les collaborations avec les chercheurs académiques contribuent en effet à augmenter le nombre de citations des articles publiés par les entreprises, mais seulement pour les firmes aux capacités de recherche internes relativement faibles. Les entreprises aux fortes capacités internes de recherche bénéficient peu de ces collaborations (au sens où le nombre de citations de leurs publications n'augmente pas), mais ces dernières ont plus de chance de s'effectuer avec des scientifiques travaillant dans les universités les plus prestigieuses. Les résultats prouvent enfin que les collaborations entre entreprise et université conduisent à des transferts de connaissance dans certains cas. Il arrive aussi que les liens entre les entreprises et les scientifiques académiques ne représentent pas un mode de transfert aussi efficace que l'adoption par les entreprises de normes de libre accès scientifique, que ce soit en tant que stratégie pour accéder de façon privilégiée aux réseaux de recherche valorisables ou simplement parce que les managers sont des scientifiques qui ont un goût prononcé pour la recherche académique.

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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue d'économie industrielle.

    Volume (Year): 110 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 57-73

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:recind:rei_0154-3229_2005_num_110_1_3072
    Note: DOI:10.3406/rei.2005.3072
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