How Do Firms Perceive Interactions with Researchers in Small Innovation Projects? Advantages and Barriers for Satisfactory Collaborations
The level of interaction between academics and firms seems to be higher than ever, and policymakers adopt a variety of policies to foster an effective integration between research establishments (REs) and regional industries. This article explores the role of researchers and the interaction between private companies and REs in small innovation projects funded under the Norwegian Programme for Regional R&D and Innovation (VRI). VRI aims to stimulate research-based innovation in regional firms by funding collaboration projects between firms and external researchers. A drawback of innovation policies attempting to stimulate RE–industry collaborations is that they often neglect firms’ perspectives and motivations. Some academic studies argue that systemic approaches focusing on regional development and new path development tend to overlook in-depth analyses at the firm level. This paper aims to combine both approaches by exploring how firms perceive the role of the researchers in the projects, the quality of interactions and, in the end, the outcome of collaborations. Our analysis reveals that the role and motivations of researchers influence the outcome of projects and, from a systemic perspective, that the characteristics of regional innovation systems in which firms operate may represent an advantage or a barrier for satisfactory collaborations.
KeywordsUniversity-industry linkages Regional innovation systems R&D policy Knowledge exchange Norway
This Research is part of the project titled ‘Exploring the role of VRI in regional innovation system formation and new path development’. Colleagues at UiS and Alta Norut in part conducted the interviews. All the usual caveats apply.
This research is in part funded by the Research Council of Norway, in the Programme for Regional R&D and Innovation (VRI).
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