Edited by Cristiano Antonelli
Chapter 11: University–Industry Interactions: The Unresolved Puzzle
Isabel Maria Bodas Freitas, Aldo Geuna and Federica Rossi 1. INTRODUCTION Theoretical advances in the economics of knowledge and innovation since the 1980s conceptualize knowledge as partly tacit, sticky, context-dependent and idiosyncratic, and see knowledge creation as a collective, localized and path dependent process (Antonelli, 2005). Consistent with this view of knowledge is the argument that interactions among economic agents to acquire particular skills, are fundamental to the production and exchange of knowledge – particularly ‘qualified’ interactions that last over time and often involve the establishment of organizational frameworks to support the collaboration (as opposed to ‘spot’ market transactions) (Lundvall, 1985; Nooteboom, 2004). The term ‘university–industry knowledge transfer’ is used to indicate a wide range of interactions at different levels, involving various activities aimed mostly at the exchange of knowledge and technology between universities and firms. These interactions on the side of universities are often described as ‘third stream’ or ‘third mission’ activities. They include, for example, collaborative research with firms, contract research and academic consulting commissioned by industry, the development and commercialization of intellectual property rights (IPRs), the creation of start-up firms to exploit university inventions, co-operation with firms on graduate training, and training and exchanges with industry researchers (Debackere, 2004; D’Este and Patel, 2007). In most advanced economies since the 1980s, views have changed regarding the role of universities in the economic system. From being seen as ‘ivory towers’ where academics performed research in isolation, the contemporary university is seen as an economic organization that engages actively with...
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