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What do we know about Firms’ Research Collaboration with Universities? New Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence

  • Broström, Anders

    ()

    (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)

  • Lööf, Hans

    ()

    (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)

This chapter provides an integrated view of knowledge transfer between university and industry by combining two different approaches. First, we report results from an econometric analysis, where recent matching techniques are used on a dataset of 2,071 Swedish firms. Our findings from this analysis strongly suggest that university collaboration has a positive influence on the innovative activity of large manufacturing firms. In contrast, there appears to be an insignificant association between university collaboration and the average service firm’s innovation output. Second, in the pursuit of credible explanations for these findings, we apply a semi-structured interview methodology on 39 randomly selected firms collaborating with two research universities in Stockholm, Sweden. We identify three ideas for how collaboration may help firms become more innovative in the literature of innovation studies. In analysis of the interviews, we find very weak support for the first idea; that firms are able to exploit and market innovations originating in the university. The second idea – that firms improve their internal innovative capability by collaboration – is found to apply to about half of the investigated firms. Innovation efficiency gains in the form of reduced cost and risk for innovation projects, which is a third idea suggested by the literature, are also suggested to be a major factor behind firms’ benefits. Finally, we offer tentative explanations for the lack of measurable effects of collaboration for service firms.

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Paper provided by Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies in its series Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation with number 74.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 28 Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:cesisp:0074
Contact details of provider: Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 790 95 63
Web page: http://www.infra.kth.se/cesis/

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  1. Hall, Browyn H. & Link, Albert N. & Scott, John T., 2000. "Universities as Research Partners," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1np920r9, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Mansfield, Edwin, 1998. "Academic research and industrial innovation: An update of empirical findings1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(7-8), pages 773-776, April.
  3. Bronwyn H. Hall, Albert N. Link and John T. Scott., 2000. "Barriers Inhibiting Industry from Partnering with Universities: Evidence from the Advanced Technology Program," Economics Working Papers E00-290, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Brewer, Marilynn B, 1998. "Intellectual Human Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 290-306, March.
  5. James D. Adams, 2002. "Comparative localization of academic and industrial spillovers," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(3), pages 253-278, July.
  6. Zvi Griliches, 1979. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 92-116, Spring.
  7. Petr Hanel & Marc St-Pierre, 2006. "Industry–University Collaboration by Canadian Manufacturing Firms," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 485-499, 07.
  8. Monjon, Stephanie & Waelbroeck, Patrick, 2003. "Assessing spillovers from universities to firms: evidence from French firm-level data," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(9), pages 1255-1270, November.
  9. Roberto Fontana & Aldo Geuna & Mireille Matt, 2003. "Firm Size and Openness: the Driving Forces of University-Industry Collaboration," SPRU Working Paper Series 103, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  10. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-71, September.
  11. Laursen, Keld & Salter, Ammon, 2004. "Searching high and low: what types of firms use universities as a source of innovation?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1201-1215, October.
  12. Rosenberg, Nathan, 1990. "Why do firms do basic research (with their own money)?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 165-174, April.
  13. Jeannette Colyvas & Michael Crow & Annetine Gelijns & Roberto Mazzoleni & Richard R. Nelson & Nathan Rosenberg & Bhaven N. Sampat, 2002. "How Do University Inventions Get Into Practice?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 61-72, January.
  14. Gerybadze, Alexander & Reger, Guido, 1999. "Globalization of R&D: recent changes in the management of innovation in transnational corporations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2-3), pages 251-274, March.
  15. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  16. Fontana, Roberto & Geuna, Aldo & Matt, Mireille, 2006. "Factors affecting university-industry R&D projects: The importance of searching, screening and signalling," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 309-323, March.
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