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Knowledge Flows in National Systems of Innovation

A Comparative Analysis of Sociotechnical Constituencies in Europe and Latin America

Edited by Roberto López-Martínez and Andrea Piccaluga

The search for the key to economic growth has proved elusive and contentious. This book uses new empirical evidence to propose an integrated approach for achieving strong industrial and technological capabilities to form the basis for regional and national economic development.
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Chapter 6: University–enterprise linkages in the area of biotechnology

Carlos M. Correa


Carlos M. Correa 6.1 INTRODUCTION The linkages between universities and the productive sector have attracted considerable attention in Latin American literature on science and technology. Several studies have attempted to explain the nature of such linkages and, particularly, the reasons for the low intensity of the relationship. In many countries, national policies have tried to promote – with limited success so far – the contributions that universities could make in order to enhance the innovative and competitive capabilities of domestic firms. A great part of the literature on the matter has focused on the conditions under which knowledge is produced in universities, and has emphasized that the university research agenda is generally defined without considering the potential application by industry of their results. This analysis has often led to changes being suggested in the way research priorities are established and in respect of the role that scientists should perform. In most cases, however, policies are centered around the supply side. The establishment of ‘technology transfer offices’ has been common in Latin America universities, in order to facilitate the management of contractual relationships with enterprises and other potential clients. The supply-side approach has assumed that the university possesses valuable knowledge and abilities, and that it is up to the enterprises to look for it. This approach has disregarded, to a large extent, the strong differences existing between the nature of the knowledge typically developed by universities, versus that used by and developed in enterprises. Though high-technology industries are dependent upon the...

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