KTH/CESIS Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation
What do we know about Firms’ Research Collaboration with Universities? New Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence
() and Hans Lööf
Abstract: 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.
Keywords: University-Industry Link; Innovation; Technology transfer; R&D; Research collaboration; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: C10; I23; O31; O33; (follow links to similar papers)
28 pages, August 28, 2006
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