Case Studies in Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship
Edited by Maureen McKelvey and Astrid Heidemann Lassen
Chapter 3: Collaborative strategies: how and why academic spin-offs interact with engineering university centers
This chapter addresses knowledge intensive entrepreneurship (KIE) venture development, from the perspective of how and why academic spin-offs engage in collaborative strategies with engineering centers located at the university. The KIE ventures use the centers to access scientific and technological knowledge, as expected, but they are also interested in accessing other resources and networks to help further develop their research, product and market development. Two academic spin-offs are presented, and they have long-term relationships with the engineering faculty, which in this case are European electrical engineering centers. Collaborative strategies are here studied in terms of how and why the firms are motivated to be involved in university-industry centers, and especially their behavior within these centers in relation to the manage- ment and development of the firm. The main foci of interaction appear to be not only the technical research per se but also other aspects like networks and access to students. The main focus is what they do – or do not – get out of this collaboration, after the KIE ventures were formed. Existing literature on university-industry interactions tends to focus upon large firms (Perkmann and Walsh, 2007; Rothaermel et al., 2007), and provides little guidance about the specific relationship that small KIE firms form with universities and academic scientists. To understand these cases, this chapter therefore provides some more general findings about how and why small KIE firms work with these centers (see Ljungberg and McKelvey, 2012). This broader perspective helps us understand the different ways in which KIE ventures can access resources and ideas,
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