Why do firms collaborate with local universities?
This paper examines why firms sometimes collaborate locally rather than with higher-quality universities at a distance. Existing research has mostly relied on the localised knowledge spillover, or LKS, model to explain this. This model holds that knowledge transfer across distance is costly, and collaborating locally reduces the risk of information loss when the knowledge is transferred. However, there are various other reasons that could also explain the pattern. If the local university can make a useful contribution, firms might choose to look no further. Firms may also see collaboration as a long-term investment, helping to build up research quality at the local university with the hope of benefiting in the future. Finally, firms may want to contribute to the local community. We extend the LKS model with these additional motivations and explore their validity using data from 23 semi-structured interviews of firms that collaborate intensively with lower-tier local universities.
Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
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Rune Dahl Fitjar is since 2013 Professor of Innovation Studies at the UiS Business School, University of Stavanger, and affiliated with the Centre for Innovation Research at the same university. He currently coordinates the Master profile in Business Innovation. He is also the project leader of an EU Horizon 2020 project on the Role of Universities in Innovation and Regional Development (RUNIN). He has a PhD in Government from London School of Economics from 2007, an M.Sc in Comparative Politics from LSE (2003), and a degree in comparative politics, organisation studies and Spanish from the University of Bergen (2002). His PhD thesis was on the drivers of regionalism in Western European regions. Fitjar worked at the International Research Institute of Stavanger as a researcher from 2007 until 2013. From 2011 to 2012, he was a visiting scholar at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California at Los Angeles. His research covers topics such as innovation collaboration, university-industry linkages, regional institutions, regional identity, regional cultures, regional policy and political systems, labour mobility and skill relatedness, local and international networks and different dimensions of distance. He has won the University of Stavanger’s prizes for research excellence (in 2014) and for communication of research (in 2012).