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Knowledge Transfer and the ‘Academic Enterprise’ in the Algarve: Contributions from Social Studies of Science and Technology to the Understanding of University-Firm Relations

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University’s everyday life is today transformed in an encompassing domain where diferente types of actors are connected and interrelated. Nevertheless, academic science often feels threatened by the new emerging paradigm characterized by knowledge transfer and the economic exploitation of public research results. This paradigm relates to what can be defined as the ‘academic enterprise’, the creation of spin-offs, applied research contracts and licensing of industrial property rights of the university. This article explores university-firm relations and tensions, discussing the increased relevance of knowledge transfer. The ideas of Ludwik Fleck, intellectual precursor of Social Studies of Science and Technology, contribute to the understanding of the difficulties of communication between different collectives, their styles of thought and the relevance of ‘marginal individuals’ in connecting diferente institutional spheres. Based on a qualitative approach to the case study of the University of Algarve (Portugal) and its attempts to create bridges with the business world, the texto illustrates differences between collectives of thought in the ‘academic science’ and the firm, the recent institutionalization of commercialization of research, and findings for policymaking and management of knowledge transfer activities.

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Paper provided by CIEO-Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, University of Algarve in its series Spatial and Organizational Dynamics Discussion Papers with number 2013-5.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 28 Nov 2013
Handle: RePEc:ris:cieodp:2013_005
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University of Algarve, Faculty of Economics, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal, email of President of the Centre:

Phone: +351 289 244 406
Fax: 351-289-818303
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