The University and the Economy

The University and the Economy

Pathways to Growth and Economic Development

Aldo Geuna and Federica Rossi

This book provides readers with an in-depth understanding of the many ways in which universities contribute to economic development and growth. It demonstrates the causal interactions between universities’ activities and economic outcomes, and presents up-to-date quantitative and qualitative data in support. The authors present the theoretical tools and evidence to explain the manner and degree to which universities’ activities impact the economy, as well as analysing the comparative strengths and weaknesses of specific university systems.

Chapter 7: The governance and spatial dynamics of university–industry knowledge transfer

Federica Rossi, Aldo Geuna, Isabel Maria Bodas Freitas, Federico Caviggioli, Paolo Cechelli and Marco Riva

Subjects: business and management, management and universities, economics and finance, economics of education, economics of innovation, education, management and universities, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


A firm’s opportunity to access significant economic knowledge through partnerships with external sources, including universities, is increasingly seen as a source of competitive advantage. From a regional economics perspective, it is believed that when firms and universities located in the same region can share knowledge and add this to their respective innovative activities, this stimulates collective processes of learning and enhances the development of ‘regional capabilities’. These are seen as sources of competitive advantage for all regional actors, promoting processes of economic development. There is already an ample literature examining factors that stimulate partnerships between universities and firms (in part described in Chapter 4). The focus of the majority of these studies is the features of individual firms, such as, in order of importance: size, research and development (R & D) expenditure, investments, receptivity to external knowledge, geographical distance from universities, industrial sector, technology specialization and group membership.

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