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Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins

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Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins

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Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins

This chapter introduces the roles of universities within economies and the importance and impact of their collaborations with SMEs. It presents a brief overview of the differences between SMEs and larger firms in terms of the propensity to engage with universities and their outcome of this engagement. In doing so, the chapter explains the rationale for focusing on SMEs and the research questions addressed by the book. Finally, the chapter outlines the methodological approach used for the book’s analysis.

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Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins

The chapter outlines the intellectual roots of research in the area of university-industry collaboration, drawing on literature from both inter-organisational alliances and open innovation to highlight the key concepts that underpin the investigation of university-industry links.

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Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins

This chapter explores the transformation of universities as their focus has widened from teaching and research towards industrial collaboration and impact. The entrepreneurial university as the ‘ideal type’ is introduced. It also explores the diversity of universities in terms of their industrial engagement activities.

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Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins

This chapter discusses the motivations for and benefits to SMEs who collaborate with universities. It also outlines the potential uncertainties involved in these collaborations, arguing that the closeness of the actors in terms of proximities may reduce uncertainty. These proximities are conceptualised via the proximity matrix, which outlines closeness in terms of physical location, network membership, working routines and practices, and technical language and knowledge base.

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Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins

This chapter presents an overview of the development of science policy to explore the efforts to encourage the use of university knowledge in the UK over time. It reviews the key funding schemes available to innovative firms in the UK. Finally, it examines recent data from the Community Innovation Survey and Longitudinal Small Business Survey to explore current trends in university engagement within the UK.

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Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins

This chapter analyses the first steps in the process of university collaboration, examining the initial development of ideas that form the basis of the collaborative projects. The chapter further explores SMEs’ motivations for taking an open innovation approach and why they decide to partner with a university.

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Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins

The chapter examines the factors underlying SMEs’ selection of a university partner and analyses the factors that underpin assessments of the credibility of universities. The chapter considers the closeness of actors in terms of social, spatial, organisation, and technological proximities and how these influence partner selection.

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Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins

This chapter examines the process of absorbing knowledge from university collaboration within SMEs. The analysis finds that the key boundary spanning actors are crucial s to promoting effective knowledge transfer within collaborative projects. The chapter also explores barriers encountered in the course of the projects.