Swedish Study: Research & Industry – Rationales for Interaction

Cooperation outcomes for product and process development are the main drivers for university-industry collaboration. But firms also work with university researchers to gain access to academic networks; and almost 50 % of the respondents in a Swedish exploratory study on “Firms’ Rationale for Interacting with Research Universities” state that the branding and marketing effect of formalised interaction with research universities is an important side-rationale for interaction. SISTER, Swedish Institute for Studies in Education and Research, has recently published the results and analysis of the Swedish study.
The Swedish Study : Motivations and Aims
Existing literature on drivers for R&D collaboration between industry partners and university researchers predominantly reports from the U.S. manufacturing and life science sectors. The Swedish study draws on two Swedish universities (Karolinska Institutet og Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)) representing a wide range of scientific disciplines, and on semi-structured interviews with R&D managers at 50 firms collaborating with at least one of the two universities.

The first aim of the study was to “explore the breadth of rationales driving firms to collaborate with Swedish universities”. The second aim was “to provide a framework for the design of public co-funding schemes for collaboration”.

Typology and Analysis
The exploratory study investigates firms’ rationales to interact with universities and establishes an empirically founded typology of rationales. Four categories of rationales are identified:
  1. cooperation outcomes for product and process development
  2. access to academic networks
  3. human capital management (HCM)
  4. direct business opportunities

Based on this typology the article discusses how public support for university-industry interaction can be made compliant with firm rationales.

Download the article “Firms’ Rationale for Interaction with Research Universities : and the principles for public co-funding” (Anders Broström, 2008).

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