How external support may mitigate the barriers to university-industry collaboration

Author/s Elisa Villani
Publishing Year 2014 Issue 2013/4
Language English Pages 29 P. 117-145 File size 173 KB
DOI 10.3280/POLI2013-004005
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Although university-industry collaboration has been analyzed following different perspectives and approaches, some aspects are still scant and unexplored. This article assesses, by referring to an inductive, exploratory case study of technology transfer offices (henceforth TTOs), how external support may affect university-industry collaboration, and what characteristics both parties and intermediary units might facilitate in the success of this relationship. We considered two of the most active TTOs in Italy, namely Politecnico of Torino and University of Bologna, using various documents and twenty-five semistructured interviews with academics, CEOs’ and TTOs’ employees. Tapping the subdivision identified by Van Dierdonck and Debackere (1988), different barriers to universityindustry collaboration, pointed out by respondents, are proposed. Additionally, our findings revealed previously underexplored aspects about TTOs’ support to university-industry relationships. In particular, we argue that university-industry collaboration is more likely to succeed if parties resort to external support (such as that of TTOs), and if specific characteristics of both parties and TTOs subsist. A summarizing model is proposed.

Keywords: University-industry collaboration, TTOs, technology transfer, case study

Jel codes: M100, M190

  1. Abramo G., D’Angelo C.A., Di Costa F., Solazzi M. 2009. University-industry collaboration in Italy: a bibliometric examination. Technovation, 29 (6-7): 498-507, DOI: 10.1016/j.technovation.2008.11.003
  2. Agrawal A. 2001. University-to-industry knowledge transfer: literature review and unanswered questions. International Journal of Management Reviews, 3 (4): 285-302, DOI: 10.1111/1468-2370.00069
  3. Amabile T.M., Patterson C., Muller J., Wojcik T., Odomorik P.W., Marsh M., Kramer S. 2001. Academic-practitioner collaboration in management research: a case of cross-profession collaboration. Academy of Management Journal, 44 (2): 418-431, DOI: 10.2307/3069464
  4. Bax A., Corrieri S., Daniele C., Guarnieri L., Piccaluga A., Ramaciotti L. 2013. Decimo rapporto Netval sulla valorizzazione della ricerca nelle università italiane, published online.
  5. Bercovitz J., Feller I., Burton R. 2001. organizational structure as determinants of academic patent and licensing behavior: an exploratory study of Duke, Johns Hopkins, and Pennsylvania State Universities. Journal of Technology Transfer, 26 (1-2): 21-35, DOI: 10.1023/a:1007828026904
  6. Bianchi M., Piccaluga A. 2012. La sfida del trasferimento tecnologico: le università italiane si raccontano. Springer-Verlag: Milano.
  7. Bruneel J., D’Este P., Salter A. 2010. Investigating the factors that diminish the barriers to university-industry collaboration. Research Policy, 39 (7): 858-868, DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2010.03.006
  8. Carlsson B., Fridh A. 2002. Technology transfer in United States universities: a survey and statistical analysis. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 12 (1-2): 199-232, DOI: 10.1007/s00191-002-0105-0
  9. Chapple W., Lockett A., Siegel D.S., Wright M. 2005. Assessing the relative performance of university technology transfer offices in the UK: parametric and non-parametric evidence. Research Policy, 34 (3): 369-34, DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2005.01.007
  10. Cohen W.M., Levinthal D.A. 1990. Absorptive capacity: a new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35 (1): 128-152,
  11. Cohen W.M., Nelson R., Walsh J. 2000. Links and impacts: survey results on the influence of public research on industrial R&D, mimeo.
  12. Colyvas J.A. 2007. From divergent meanings to common practices: the early institutionalization of technology transfer in the life sciences at Stanford university. Research Policy, 36 (4): 456-476, DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2007.02.019
  13. Colyvas J., Crow M., Gelijns A., Mazzoleni R., Nelson R., Rosenberg N., Sampat B.N. 2000. How do university inventions get into practice?, mimeo.
  14. D’Este P., Patel P. 2007. University-industry linkages in the UK: what are the factors underlying the variety of interactions with industry?. Research Policy, 36 (9): 1296-1313, DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2007.05.002
  15. Dasgupta P., David P.A. 1994. Towards a new economics of science. Research Policy, 23 (5): 487-521, DOI: 10.1016/0048-7333(94)01002-1
  16. Debackere K., Veugelers R. 2005. The role of academic technology transfer organizations in improving industry science links. Research Policy, 34 (3): 321-342, DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2004.12.003
  17. Eisenhardt K.M., Graebner M.E. 2007. Theory building from cases: opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, 50 (1): 25-32, DOI: 10.5465/aMJ.2007.24160888
  18. Feldman M., Feller I., Bercovitz J., Burton R. 2000. Equity and the technology transfer strategies of american research universities, mimeo.
  19. Foltz J., Barham B., Kim K. 2000. Universities and agricultural biotechnology patent production. Agribusiness, 16 (1): 82-95, DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6297(200024)16:1<82::aID-aGR7>3.0.Co;2-v
  20. Friedman, J., Silberman, J. 2003. University Technology Transfer: Do Incentives, Management, and Location Matter?. Journal of Technology Transfer, 28 (1), 81-5. DOI: 10.1023/a:1021674618658
  21. Gans J.S., Murray F., Stern S. 2011. Contracting over the disclosure of scientific knowledge: intellectual property and academic publication, unpublished manuscript.
  22. Geuna a., Muscio a. 2009. The governance of university knowledge transfer: a critical review of the literature. Minerva, 47 (1): 93-114, DOI: 10.1007/s11024-009-9118-2
  23. Gomes J.F.S., Hurmelinna P., amaral v., Blomqvist K. 2005. Managing relationships of the republic of science and the kingdom of industry. Journal of Workplace Learning, 17 (1-2): 88-98, DOI: 10.1108/13665620510574487
  24. Hall B.H. 2004. University-industry partnerships in the United States, in Contzen J.-P., Gibson D., Heitor M.v. (eds.) Rethinking Science Systems and Innovation Policies. Purdue University Press: Ashland.
  25. Hall B.H., Link a.N., Scott J.T., 2001. Barriers inhibiting industry from partnering with universities: evidence from the advanced technology program. Journal of Technology Transfer, 26 (1-2): 87-98,
  26. Industry. 2007. Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, 2007. Improving Knowledge Transfer Between Research Institutions and Industry Across Europe: Embracing Open Innovation, published online.
  27. Jaffe A. 1989. The real effects of academic research. American Economic Review, 79 (5): 957-970,
  28. Jensen R., Thursby M. 2001. Proofs and prototypes for sale: the licensing of university inventions. The American Economic Review, 91 (1): 240-259,
  29. Lach S., Schankerman M. 2004. Royalty sharing and technology licensing in universities. Journal of the European Economic Association, 2 (2-3), 252-264, DOI: 10.1162/154247604323067961
  30. Link A.N., Siegel D.S. 2005. Generating science-based growth: an econometric analysis of the impact of organizational incentives on university-industry technology transfer. European Journal of Finance, 11 (3): 169-182, DOI: 10.1080/1351847042000254211
  31. Merton R., Storer N. 1973. The Sociology of Science. University of Chicago Press: Chicago.
  32. Mowery D.C., Nelson R.R. 2004. Ivory Tower and Industrial Innovation: University-Industry Technology Before and After the Bayh-Dole Act. Stanford University Press: Stanford.
  33. Murray F. 2002. Innovation as co-evolution of scientific and technological networks: exploring tissue engineering. Research Policy, 31 (8): 1389-1403, DOI: 10.1016/S0048-7333(02)00070-7
  34. Murray F., O’Mahony S. 2007. Exploring the foundations of cumulative innovation: implications for organization science. Organization Science, 18 (6): 1006-1021, DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1070.0325
  35. Nissani M. 1997. Ten cheers for interdisciplinarity: the case for interdisciplinary knowledge and research. Social Science Journal, 34 (2): 201-216, DOI: 10.1016/S0362-3319(97)90051-3
  36. Perkmann M., Walsh K. 2007. University-industry relationships and open innovation: towards a research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews, 9 (4): 259-280, DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2007.00225.x
  37. Philbin S. 2008. Process-model for university-industry research collaboration. European Journal of Innovation Management, 11 (4): 488-521, DOI: 10.1108/14601060810911138
  38. Rogers E.M., Yin Y., Hoffmann J. 2000. assessing the effectiveness of technology transfer offices at US research universities. The Journal of the Association of University Technology Managers, 12: 47-80.
  39. Rosenberg N., Nelson R.R. 1994. American universities and technical advance in industry. Research Policy, 23 (3): 323-348, DOI: 10.1016/0048-7333(94)90042-6
  40. Saez C.B., Marco T.G., Arribas E.H. 2002. Collaboration in R&D with universities and research centres: an empirical study of Spanish firms. R&D Management, 32 (4): 321-341, DOI: 10.1111/1467-9310.00264
  41. Sauermann H., Stephan P.E. 2011. Twins or Strangers? Differences and Similarities Between Industrial and Academic Science, unpublished.
  42. Shapero A. 1980. Some Social Dimensions of Entrepreneurship. The ohio State University: Columbus.
  43. Siegel D.S., Waldman D.A., Atwater L.E., Link A.N. 2003. Commercial knowledge transfers from universities to firms: improving the effectiveness of university-industry collaboration. Journal of High Technology Management Research, 14 (1): 111-133, DOI: 10.1016/S1047-8310(03)00007-5
  44. Siegel D.S., Waldman D.A., Atwater L.E., Link A.N. 2004. Toward a model of the effective transfer of scientific knowledge from academicians to practitioners: qualitative evidence from the commercialization of university technologies. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 21 (1-2): 115-142, DOI: 10.1016/j.jengtecman.2003.12.006
  45. Siegel D.S., Veugelers R., Wright M. 2007. Technology transfer offices and commercialization of university intellectual property: performance and policy implications. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 23 (4): 640-660, DOI: 10.1093/oxrep/grm036
  46. Stephan P.E. 1996. The economics of science. Journal of Economic Literature, 34 (3): 1199-1235,
  47. Stokes D. 1997. Pasteur’s Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation. Brookings Institution Press: Washington.
  48. Tahvanainen A.J., Hermans R. 2011. Making sense of the TTo production function: university technology transfer offices as a process catalysts, knowledge converters and impact amplifiers. ETLA Discussion Paper 1236.
  49. Thursby J.G., Jensen R., Thursby M.C. 2001. Objectives, characteristics and outcomes of university licensing: a survey of major US universities. Journal of Technology Transfer, 26 (1-2): 59-72, DOI: 10.1023/a:1007884111883
  50. Thursby J.G., Kemp S. 2002. Growth and productive efficiency of university intellectual property licensing. Research Policy, 31 (1): 109-124, DOI: 10.1016/S0048-7333(00)00160-8
  51. Thursby J.G., Thursby M.C. 2002. who is selling the ivory tower? Sources of growth in university licensing. Management Science, 48 (1): 90-104, DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.
  52. van Dierdonck R., Debackere K. 1988. academic entrepreneurship at Belgian universities. R&D Management, 18 (4): 341-353, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9310.1988.tb00609.x
  53. Yin R.K. 2004. The Case Study Anthology. Sage Publication: London.
  54. Zucker L.G., Darby M.R., Armstrong J.S. 2000. University science, venture capital, and the performance of biotechnology firms, mimeo.

  • Supporting academic entrepreneurship: cross-country evidence in Europe Paola Giuri, Rosa Grimaldi, Elisa Villani, in ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE 4/2014 pp.215
    DOI: 10.3280/POLI2014-004010
  • Barriers and facilitators of university-industry collaboration for research, development and innovation: a systematic review André Luis Rossoni, Eduardo Pinheiro Gondim de Vasconcellos, Renata Luiza de Castilho Rossoni, in Management Review Quarterly /2023
    DOI: 10.1007/s11301-023-00349-1
  • Barriers to University-Industry Cooperation in a Developing Region João Lopes, João Lussuamo, in Journal of the Knowledge Economy /2021 pp.1019
    DOI: 10.1007/s13132-020-00646-0
  • University Evolution, Entrepreneurial Activity and Regional Competitiveness U. Finardi, S. Rolfo, pp.97 (ISBN:978-3-319-17712-0)

Elisa Villani, How external support may mitigate the barriers to university-industry collaboration in "ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE " 4/2013, pp 117-145, DOI: 10.3280/POLI2013-004005