Universities’ functions in knowledge transfer: a geographical perspective
Universities’ functions in knowledge transfer have been thoroughly investigated by scholars from different disciplines in the last decades. However, a complete picture of universities’ contribution to regional, national and international knowledge transfer is still missing. In this paper, we pull together the strings of various scholarly works produced by economic geographers, economists, regional scientists and others, thereby taking stock of achievements and shortcomings and elaborating avenues for further scientific work. We analyse the various functions of universities by using four conceptual frameworks, namely the regional innovation systems approach, the new production of technology theory, the triple helix model and social network theory. These different frameworks help to integrate the functions of universities into local-regional, national and international relationships theoretically. Empirically, universities’ relationships have been investigated by case studies, surveys and increasingly by social network analysis. Our exercise results in a critical discussion of a predominantly regional focus of investigation. Looking at knowledge transfer from a regional, national and international perspective leads to a different way of developing theoretical concepts and matching them with empirical tools. In particular, we find that social network analysis and its theoretical basis, i.e., social network theory, will give more body to understanding knowledge transfer functions of universities. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013
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Volume (Year): 51 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
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