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The process of emergency, evolution, and sustainability of University-Firm relations in a context of open innovation


  • Aurora A.C. Teixeira

    () (CEF.UP, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto; INESC Porto)

  • Luís Pinheiro

    () (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)


Existing studies on University-Firm (U-F) relations do not highlight, at least in an explicit way, the issue of open innovation. Such studies are still too centred on the advantages which the Firms are able to obtain from the relation with the Universities, failing taking into account the value that potentially goes to Universities from such links. The present paper intends to fill in this gap by empirically studying the process of emergency, evolution, and sustainability of the U-F relations in an open innovation context. Resorting to the case study methodology, we empirically demonstrate how the relations of a firm (Brisa) with the Universities (namely, ISEL) emerged, how they evolved and became sustained through time, giving special emphasis to the issue of mutual benefits derived from these relationships. Face-to-face interviews with the key-players at Brisa and ISEL, complemented with an extensive analysis of secondary sources, allowed us to conclude that the establishment of a connection between the two entities is a more complex and time consuming process (requiring a large relational and resources investment on both parts) than what the existing literature assumes. Besides the recognized gains for firms from adopting a more open-led perspective of innovation, namely based on U-F relations, our work (also) highlights the benefit deriving to the Universities from the link to companies. It is mainly due to the existence of mutual benefits that U-F relations are preserved in the long term; in other words, are sustainable.

Suggested Citation

  • Aurora A.C. Teixeira & Luís Pinheiro, 2010. "The process of emergency, evolution, and sustainability of University-Firm relations in a context of open innovation," FEP Working Papers 366, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:366

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    Open Innovation; University-Firm relations; Emergency; Sustainability; Benefits;

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