A Changing Landscape
Edited by Andrea Bonaccorsi
Chapter 6: Institutional and regional factors behind university patenting in Europe: an exploratory spatial analysis using EUMIDA data
Over the past 30 years universities have been increasingly considered as key instruments of regional economic development policy in many countries of the world (Pike et al., 2011). High expectations towards positive regional economic impacts of academic institutions are partly supported by the experience of some leading technology areas where knowledge transfer from universities successfully nurtured regional economic growth (Saxenian, 1994; Wicksteed et al., 2000; Goldstein, 2002) and partly by research findings in the scientific literature, providing strong empirical evidence as to the important role of spatial proximity of firms to academic institutions in knowledge transfer (Varga,1998). It became clear relatively soon to researchers in this area that a pure proximity of a university is not a guarantee for growth, as regional-and university-level characteristics are both instrumental in determining the extent to which university-supported economic development might be considered as a realistic option for a region. Without some preconditions in the locality even a world-class research university might exert only negligible impacts on the local economy (Feldman, 1994). The literature shows that below a certain threshold of agglomeration of the local knowledge industry (including innovative firms, private research labs, business services, supporting institutions) hopes for a significant university impact are more or less non-realistic as indicated by US (Varga, 2000; Koo, 2007) and European (Varga et al., 2013) investigations.
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