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Universities have traditionally developed training and research functions. In the last decades they
have adopted a third function: interaction with industry. Several instruments have been employed: R&D
contracts, technological support, consultancy and others like patenting, on which technology leading
country universities have placed a special emphasis for some years. Although it has been a matter of
concern, the incipient literature on the topic has not created a specific model of the factors affecting the
generation of university patents. In this work, departing from the recognition that a relation between them
and the amount of R&D carried out by university departments exist, the fitness of a knowledge
production function has been tested with university patents as an output. The application made on the
available data of the Polytechnic University of Valencia shows that count data models are appropriate to
represent the mentioned relationship. The results demonstrate that current R&D exerts a greater influence
on patents than past R&D, that science-dependent fields of knowledge present higher technological
opportunities and that larger departments tend to apply for a relatively lower number of patents. On the
other hand, the decomposition of R&D by source of funding allows us to observe that publicly funded
research is the most important source for the generation of patents, but that synergy exists with
complementary funding by industry. The decomposition of R&D by type of activity indicates, in turn,
that the activities of knowledge transfer proper do not head to the application for patents. It may be
concluded that the rise of university patents does not represent a move out of fundamental research, but
also that they do not necessarily contribute to technology transfer and progress. Some lessons for
catching-up countries arise.

Name and Edition of Conference ETIC Conference 2001
Location Estrasburgo, Francia