The paper focuses on University and Research Institution labs (URIlabs). These institutions are attempted to exert a particular influence on other actors, especially firms, in the process of creation and of diffusion of innovation-relevant knowledge. The first section of the paper aims at giving some theoretical background elements allowing a better understanding of how URIlabs cooperate with firms and a description of the territorial aspects of those links. To this respect, the "information economics" of URIlabs is examined in exploring the regional dimension and the nature of the interactions which link URIlabs to firms. The second and third sections propose an empirical investigation of the determinants of the intensity of the cooperation with firms, the forms and the spatial characteristics of those cooperations. The investigation is based on the statistical exploitation of an ad hoc sample including labs from two different national systems. The concluding section examines the empirical results in terms of the economics of knowledge and highlights the working of the national and local systems of innovation- a useful information for regional policy makers
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