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What drives university-industry collaboration: Research excellence or firm collaboration strategy?

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  • Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés
  • Atta-Owusu, Kwadwo
  • Fitjar, Rune

Abstract

Research and innovation policy aims to boost research output and university-industry collaboration (UIC) at least in part to allow firms access to leading scientific knowledge. As part of their mission, universities are expected to contribute to innovation in their regions. However, the relationship between research output and UIC is unclear: research-intensive universities can produce frontier research, which is attractive to firms, but may also suffer from a gap between the research produced and the needs of local firms, as well as mission overload. This may hinder local firms’ ability to cooperate with universities altogether or force them to look beyond the region for other suitable universities to interact with. This paper investigates the relationship between the research output of local universities and firms’ participation in UICs across different geographical scales. It uses Community Innovation Survey (CIS) data for Norwegian firms and Scopus data on Norwegian universities’ research output across various disciplines. The results demonstrate that local university research intensity and quality are negatively associated with firm participation in UICs at the local level. Firm characteristics, in particular the firm’s general strategy towards cooperation and its geography, turn out to be much more important than university characteristics in explaining UICs. Notably, firms’ cooperation with other external partners at the same scale is a strong predictor of UICs.

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  • Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés & Atta-Owusu, Kwadwo & Fitjar, Rune, 2020. "What drives university-industry collaboration: Research excellence or firm collaboration strategy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 14565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:14565
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    2. Zihanxin Li & Ting Wan & Jing Lan, 2022. "Substitution or Complementarity: Influence of Industry–University–Research-Institute Cooperation Governance Mechanism on Knowledge Transfer—An Empirical Analysis from China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(13), pages 1-24, June.
    3. Marra, Mita, 2022. "Productive interactions in digital training partnerships: Lessons learned for regional development and university societal impact assessment," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 95(C).
    4. Xiaojie Yao & Yuan Hu & Huaping Gong & Dongyou Chen, 2021. "Characteristics and Evolution of China’s Industry–University–Research Collaboration to Promote the Sustainable Development: Based on Policy Text Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(23), pages 1-18, November.
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    7. Iacobucci, Donato & Perugini, Francesco, 2023. "Innovation performance in traditional industries: Does proximity to universities matter," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    8. Afcha, S. & García-Quevedo, J. & Mas-Verdú, F., 2023. "Gaining or losing PhDs: What are the effects on firms' linkages with universities?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 186(PA).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Research; Universities; Firms; University-industry collaboration; Norway;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • 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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