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Successful Patterns of Scientific Knowledge Sourcing: Mix and Match

  • Sofka, Wolfgang
  • Aschhoff, Birgit

Valuable knowledge emerges increasingly outside of firm boundaries, in particular in public research institutions and universities. The question is how firms organize their interactions with universities effectively to acquire knowledge and apply it successfully. Literature has so far largely ignored that firms may combine different types of interactions with universities for optimizing their collaboration strategies. We argue conceptually that firms need diverse (broad) and highly developed (deep) combinations of various interactions with universities to maximize returns from these collaborations. Our empirical investigation rests upon a survey of more than 800 firms in Germany. We find that both the diversity and intensity of collaborative engagements with universities propel innovation success. However, broadening the spectrum of interactions is more beneficial with regard to innovation success. Applying latent class cluster analysis we identify four distinct patterns of interaction. Our findings show that formal forms of interaction (joint/contract) research provide the best balance between joint knowledge development and value capture.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 08-033.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:7305
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  1. Jason Owen-Smith & Massimo Riccaboni & Fabio Pammolli & Walter W. Powell, 2001. "A Comparison of U.S. And European University-Industry Relations in the Life Sciences," LEM Papers Series 2001/03, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  2. Kaiser, Ulrich, 2002. "An empirical test of models explaining research expenditures and research cooperation: evidence for the German service sector," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 747-774, June.
  3. Chiara Criscuolo & Jonathan E. Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2005. "Global Engagement and the Innovation Activities of Firms," NBER Working Papers 11479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jerry G. Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2002. "Who Is Selling the Ivory Tower? Sources of Growth in University Licensing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 90-104, January.
  5. Scott Shane, 2002. "Selling University Technology: Patterns from MIT," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 122-137, January.
  6. Pavitt, Keith, 1991. "What makes basic research economically useful?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 109-119, April.
  7. Albert N. Link & Donald S. Siegel & Barry Bozeman, 2007. "An empirical analysis of the propensity of academics to engage in informal university technology transfer ," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 641-655, August.
  8. Geuna, Aldo & Anthony Arundel, 2003. "Proximity and the Use of Public Science by Innovate European Firms," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 86, Royal Economic Society.
  9. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
  10. 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.
  11. Schartinger, Doris & Rammer, Christian & Fischer, Manfred M. & Frohlich, Josef, 2002. "Knowledge interactions between universities and industry in Austria: sectoral patterns and determinants," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 303-328, March.
  12. Mansfield, Edwin, 1991. "Academic research and industrial innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-12, February.
  13. Saviotti, Pier Paolo, 1998. "On the dynamics of appropriability, of tacit and of codified knowledge," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(7-8), pages 843-856, April.
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