Firm Size and Openness: the Driving Forces of University-Industry Collaboration
A large number of works have studied university-industry relationships either from a qualitative point of view or relying on a case study of a single university. The aim of this paper is to provide some statistical evidence at the cross-country, cross-industry level to verify some of the hypotheses put forward in the qualitative literature. On the basis of the results of the KNOW survey carried out in seven EU countries in 2000, we examine two main issues. First, the contribution made by Public Research Organisations (PROs) to the innovative process of firms is analysed. Second, the existence and the extent of co-operative R&D projects between firms and PROs are examined. A two-equation econometric model evaluates the effect of firm-specific, sector-specific and country-specific factors (such as firm size, appropriation and signalling, searching of knowledge sources, government support) upon the propensity for and the extent of collaborations between PROs and firms. The analysis in this paper provides some preliminary evidence which allows a better understanding of the firm and industry characteristics that affect the contribution of PROs to firms' innovative activities and to their involvement in R&D collaborations with firms. The estimations produce some evidence to highlight how the size of the firm and its openness to the external environment have a significant and important effect on both the extent of and propensity of PRO-firm collaboration.
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