Networks, SMEs, and the University
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Networks, SMEs, and the University

The Process of Collaboration and Open Innovation

Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins

Exploring the process of university collaboration from the perspective of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this book offers an in-depth examination of the collaboration process, dispelling the myth of the disengagement of these firms. Andrew Johnston and Robert Huggins present a thorough account of how SMEs can ‘unlock the ivory tower’ and gain access to university knowledge to support their own innovation.
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Chapter 4: University–industry collaboration: formation and function

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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