Date: 07 May 2014

Fostering university-industry R&D collaborations in European Union countries

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Abstract

This paper advances our understanding of university-industry research and development (R&D) collaborations. These strategic relationships are a dimension of entrepreneurial activity, and they are thus important drivers of economic growth and development. Business collaboration with universities increases the efficiency and effectiveness of industrial investments. Previous studies have found that universities are more likely to collaborate with industry if the business is mature and large, is engaged in exploratory internal R&D, and there are not major intellectual property (IP) issues between both parties. Businesses gain from such collaborations through increased commercialisation probabilities and economies of technological scope. Based on publicly available data collected by the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre of Germany as part of a European Commission project, our paper focuses on two key questions. First, why are there cross-country differences in the extent to which universities collaborate with business in R&D? Second, are there covariates with these differences that might offer insight into policy prescriptions and policy levers for enhancing the extent to which such collaboration takes place? We find that access is positive and statistically significant in relation to fostering university-business R&D collaborations. Our results, albeit that they are tempered by a small sample of data, have implications how national innovation systems support further harmonization of IP regimes across universities and how universities prioritize their own investments and incentives.