Creating university-industry interactions: how can university management connect various types of interactions?

  • Kristofer Severinsson
  • Petter B. Forsberg
  • Enrico Baraldi
Keywords: university-industry interaction, case study, typology, cooperation, collaboration, relationship

Abstract

Purpose of the paper: University-Industry interactions (U-I interactions) - such as joint collaboration projects - are currently perceived as one important answer to innovation. However, the detailed dynamics of these interactions remain unknown, especially when it comes to universities’ efforts to create such interactions (Perkmann and Walsh, 2007). By analysing two interaction-stimulating tools deployed by a Swedish university, this paper addresses two research questions: 1) which different types of U-I interactions are created by these tools? and 2) how does the university management connect different types of U-I interactions?

Methodology: Embedded case study methodology comprising of participant observation and over 60 in depth semi-structured interviews.

Results: For the first question, we have found that four types of U-I interactions were created, namely “participation”, “cooperation”, “collaboration” and “relationships”. For the second question, we have found that creating successful U-I interactions requires that the university management intervene on all the various interaction types.

Research limit: The research questions posed here are based on two specific U-I interaction tools in one specific context. To be able to draw a more generalizable conclusion, further research is needed from other societal contexts and universities.

Practical implications: University management’s aim towards achieving deeper and long-term interactions may be hindered by the companies’ and academic researchers’ emphasis on simply exchanging knowledge or building contact networks, rather than gaining tangible outputs from U-I interactions.

Originality of the paper: Current research lacks detailed descriptions and analyses of U-I interactions, especially of universities’ efforts to create such interactions from scratch, that is, before they become established relationships. This paper addresses this gap.

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Published
2016-12-22