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posted on 11.07.2006by Markus Perkmann, Kathryn Walsh
Recent research suggests that organizations increasingly rely on external sources of innovation via interorganizational network relationships. This article explores the diffusion and characteristics of collaborative relationships between universities and industry, and develops a research agenda informed by an 'open innovation' perspective. A framework is proposed that distinguishes university-industry relationships from other mechanisms based on technology transfer or human mobility. On the basis of the existing body research, the role of practices such as collaborative research, university-industry research centres, contract research and academic consulting compared to other university-industry links is analyzed. The evidence suggests that multiplex forms of relationship-based links between universities and industry are widely practiced whereby differences exist across industries and scientific disciplines.
While most existing research focuses on the effects of university-industry links on innovation-specific variables, such as patents or firm innovationess, the organizational dynamics of these relationships remain under-researched. A detailed research agenda addresses research needs in two main areas: search and match processes between universities and firms, and the organization and management of collaborative relationships.