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The microfoundations of university-industry interactions

By Valentina Tartari

Abstract

In the last three decades universities have experienced major changes, which have affected both their research objectives and their sources of funding. Universities are increasingly asked to contribute to economic growth by increasing their commercialization and technology transfer efforts. The relationship between university and industry has attracted a great deal of interest because of both the opportunities that can be generated by collaboration and the controversy surrounding universities‘ commercial activities. Previous research has analysed in depth these issue at the level of institutions and universities. Collaborating with industry, however, constitute discretionary behaviour for academics: while literature has examined the role of individual characteristics such as demographics and productivity, aspects related to psychological traits, perceptions and social influence are poorly understood. To address this gap, I employ an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the drivers of university-industry interactions at the level of the individuals.\ud The analysis draws upon data on the characteristics and activities of a sample of academic scientists in different scientific disciplines in Italy and in the UK. The datasets integrate information collected through surveys, as well as data on scientists, department and universities gathered through several secondary sources.\ud Results show that researchers‘ evaluation of potential benefits and costs of collaboration with industry are a major driver of academic engagement. Moreover, this thesis highlights the crucial role of scientists‘ personality in determining academic engagement and entrepreneurship, while putting back into perspective the role of organizational support mechanisms. The role of the academics‘ immediate social context is also assessed, showing that individuals look to their immediate peers for their orientation, both collaboratively via learning as well as competitively via social comparison. Finally, this research informs policy on how to devise more effective strategies to promote university-industry interactions.Imperial Users onl

Publisher: Imperial College Business School
Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:spiral.imperial.ac.uk:10044/1/10965

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