Factors affecting university-industry R&D projects: the impoertance of searching, screening and signalling

Fontana, Roberto, Geuna, Aldo and Matt, Mireille (2006) Factors affecting university-industry R&D projects: the impoertance of searching, screening and signalling. Research Policy, 35 (2). pp. 309-323. ISSN 0048-7333

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Abstract

This paper presents an empirical analysis of the determinants of research cooperation between firms and Public research organisations (PROs) for a sample of innovating small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The econometric analysis is based on the results of the KNOW survey carried out in seven EU countries during 2000. In contrast to earlier works that provide information about the importance of PROs’ research, we know the number of firm/PRO collaborative research and development (R&D) projects. This allows us to study the determinants of firm collaboration with PROs in terms of both the propensity of a firm to undertake R&D projects with a university (do they cooperate or not) and the extent of this collaboration (number of R&D projects). Two questions are addressed. Which firms cooperated with PROs? And what are the firm characteristics that might explain the number of R&D projects with PROs? The results of our analysis point to two major phenomena. First, the propensity to forge an agreement with an academic partner depends on the ‘absolute size’ of the industrial partner. Second the openness of firms to the external environment, as measured by their willingness to search, screen and signal, significantly affects the development of R&D projects with PROs. Our findings suggest that acquiring knowledge through the screening of publications and involvement in public policies positively affects the probability of signing an agreement with a PRO, but not the number of R&D projects developed. In fact, firms that outsource research and development, and patent to protect innovation and to signal competencies show higher levels of collaboration.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: While linkages between large firms and public research organisations such as universities have been well studied, the role of small firm (SME) linkages with academia are little known about. This study, as a part of Dr Geuna¿s broad research programme on links between S&T and their implications for the university, explores that role. His contribution, covering principally the background and analytical framework, amounted to about 40% of the final paper, including all of sections 1 and 4.2 and half of section 2.
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Aldo Geuna
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:33
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2012 16:20
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21277
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