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Exploring university‐industry collaboration in research centres

Frida Lind (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Alexander Styhre (School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Lise Aaboen (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden and Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 18 January 2013




The purpose of this paper is to explore university‐industry collaboration in research centres.


The paper builds on an explorative study of three research centres at a technical university in Sweden, using in‐depth interviews. The three research centres, Alpha, Beta and Gamma, have various degrees of involvement with industry.


A total of four broad forms of collaboration are suggested: distanced, translational, specified and developed collaboration.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows that the different institutional logics of academic actors, industry actors and funding agencies can be present in collaborations in (at least) four different ways resulting in four different types of research processes. Since not all actors are likely to be equally satisfied in all types of collaborations, the continued development of the research centres will be at risk.

Practical implications

If the role of the research centre is to be a forum for collaboration, the research centre has to be a good mediator between the actors in order to ensure their satisfaction with the research centre within and between projects. If, in contrast, the role of the research centre is to be a facilitator of collaboration, the research centre needs to enable the actors to learn how to interact with each other in order for the distanced, translational, specified collaboration to evolve into developed collaboration.


Few studies have focused on the collaborations per se in research centres, taking the different institutional logics of the actors involved in the collaboration into account.



Lind, F., Styhre, A. and Aaboen, L. (2013), "Exploring university‐industry collaboration in research centres", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 70-91.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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