Selecting the right channel for knowledge transfer between industry and science

Maarten van Gils (Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
Geert Vissers (Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
Jan de Wit (Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Publication date: 2 October 2009

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the relationship between the types of R&D‐activities within science‐based firms and the knowledge transfer channels used for industry‐science collaboration. Rooted in a contingency approach, it seeks to identify patterns in the organization of knowledge transfer and to disclose ways that may support R&D‐managers in achieving effective knowledge transfer.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is an exploratory study in order to obtain a deep understanding of the relationship. At first, both the types of R&D‐activity and the knowledge transfer channels were conceptualized based on an extensive literature review. Second, data were collected by means of semi‐structured interviews with 17 (assistant) R&D‐managers of ten large European chemical firms.

Findings

The analysis suggests that almost each of the knowledge transfer channels used for industry‐science collaboration has a more or less unique link to a specific type of R&D‐activity. An empirically based model is developed that visualizes the linkages. In addition, explanations for observed links are proposed.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical analysis reported focuses on multinational firms in the science‐based European chemical industry, because they invest heavily in R&D and are hence more interested in collaboration with scientific partners. Further research is needed to determine the model's applicability in other empirical settings, both within and outside science‐based industries.

Practical implications

The paper provides R&D‐managers with a model that may support them in deciding how to organize their collaboration with scientific partners based on the type of their internal R&D‐activity to achieve effective knowledge transfer.

Originality/value

The paper is one of the first studies that empirically assesses the relationship between the types of R&D‐activities in firms and the knowledge transfer channels that are used for industry‐science collaboration.

Keywords

Citation

van Gils, M., Vissers, G. and de Wit, J. (2009), "Selecting the right channel for knowledge transfer between industry and science", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 492-511. https://doi.org/10.1108/14601060910996936

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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