The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 76–94 | Cite as

The limits to internationalization of scientific research collaboration

  • Roderik Ponds


This study analyses international research collaboration for eight science-based technologies in the Netherlands for the period 1988–2004. It is found that the share of international research collaborations in research collaboration is high, but not rising during the period investigated. This result suggests that the process of internationalization has reached an end. It is also found that collaboration between academic and non-academic organizations is less likely to take place at the international level than collaboration between academic organizations. This suggests that collaborating within national research systems helps academia, firms and governmental organizations to overcome differences in norms, values and incentives. Nonetheless, international collaboration between academic and non-academic organizations is also frequently occurring. Some consider these collaborations as undesirable, insofar academic research funded domestically is ‘leaking’ to foreign firms in such research collaborations. Such unwanted knowledge spillovers has lead some to plea for a ‘technology-nationalism’ in science policy instead of a ‘techno-globalization’. An analysis of the ‘balance of trade’ in international collaborations between Dutch academia and foreign firms and between Dutch firms and foreign academia shows that fears for unwanted knowledge spillovers are unfounded.


Research collaboration Internationalization University–industry collaboration 

JEL Classifications

O32 O38 



The author gratefully acknowledges comments on earlier versions of this paper from Koen Frenken, Jarno Hoekman, Frank van Oort, Otto Raspe and two anonymous referees.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Economic Geography, Urban and Regional Research Centre Utrecht (URU), Faculty of GeosciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.The Netherlands Institute for Spatial Research (RPB)The HagueThe Netherlands

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