Interaction with universities and firm's innovative performance: evidence from the Spanish innovation survey

Jaider Vega-Jurado, Liney Manjarrés-Henríquez, Antonio Gutiérrez-Gracia, Ignacio Fernández-de-Lucio
This paper analyses the effect of interaction with universities on firms? innovation output, measured as the degree of novelty of product innovation. The analysis is based on a sample of 3,257 manufacturing firms, active in innovation, and located in Spain. We distinguish between two types of interaction mechanisms: cooperation in innovation activities and outsourcing of research and development (R&D) services. Using data from two waves of the Spanish innovation survey (2004 and 2007), we examine the effect of interaction in 2004 on subsequent product innovation in 2005-2007. The results show that neither cooperation with universities nor outsourcing of R&D services to these agents has a significant effect on product innovation. In other words, for Spanish manufacturing firms the acquisition of knowledge from universities does not represent an important strategy to introduce new products into the market. In contrast, cooperation with customers and acquisition of external R&D from other firms seem to be important for innovation, especially for firms pursuing more radical innovation.