Chapter 7: Valorization of university knowledge: what are the barriers and can ‘living labs’ provide solutions?
Bringing new knowledge to market is increasingly recognized as the third mission of universities today. Accordingly, universities are seen as creators of new knowledge while being involved in contract-research commissioned by the business sector, in collaborative research projects with business partners, in licensing of patents, in the creation of spin-off firms, etc. (van Geenhuizen and Nijkamp, 2007; Huggins and Johnston, 2009; McDowell, 2010; O’Shea et al., 2005; Shane, 2004). In Europe, this new role of universities started to grow in the early 1980s (Charles and Howells, 1992) and has now fully entered the research policy of modern universities (Hussler et al., 2010; van Looy et al., 2011; Rasmussen et al., 2006). Knowledge valorization is broadly defined in this study as ‘the process of creation of value from knowledge, by adapting it and/or making it available for economic/societal use and transform[ing] it into competing products, services, processes and new economic activity’ (Innovation Platform, 2009, p. 8). It is a complex and iterative process with interaction between knowledge institutes and the business world as key in all stages. Knowledge valorization encompasses a chain of processes (partly cycles) that starts with first thoughts about market introduction (eventually together with a firm) and about steps to be taken to reach this goal through various channels (Bekkers and Bodas Freitas, 2008; Markman et al., 2008).
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