Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 115: Firms' Rationales for Interaction with Research Universities

Anders Broström ()
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Anders Broström: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: R&D managers at 50 firms randomly selected from all firms who have formal relations with two research universities in Stockholm are being interviewed about their rationales for collaboration. Drawing on this material, a distinctive typology of rationales and the therewith associated effects from cooperative relations is presented. As expected, rationales related to innovation, in terms of invented or improved products or processes, are found to be the main drivers for interaction. As regards the nature of the innovation process leading to innovation, most respondents indicate that “indirect” relationships between collaboration outcomes and successful innovation dominate over “direct” appropriation of results. Contrasting open ended search rationales with pursuit of defined objectives, we find that both types are strongly represented among the studied collaborative linkages. We also find that interaction rationales often go beyond the pursuit of innovation per se; firms also work with university researchers to access academic networks, to develop its human capital and to realise direct business opportunities. The consequences of these findings for policy measures steered towards the strengthening of collaborative university-industry linkages are discussed.

Keywords: R&D collaboration; technology transfer; university-industry linkages; innovation collaboration

JEL-codes: O32; O33; O38

23 pages, February 26, 2008

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