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University knowledge, open innovation and technological capital in Spanish science parks : Research revealing or technology selling?

Manuel Villasalero (Department of Business Administration, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real, Spain)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the connection between university research and technological capital developed by science park (SCP) firms in order to elucidate whether the causal linkage is owing to non-pecuniary research spillovers or pecuniary technology transfer activities.


Two publicly available surveys, one dealing with the research and transfer activities of 45 Spanish universities and another with the patenting activities of 44 Spanish SCPs, are matched in such a way that hypotheses can be tested using regression analysis.


The patenting performance of SCP firms is positively related to the competitive R&D projects undertaken by the universities to which they are affiliated and negatively related to the technology transfer activities carried out by those universities. These findings suggest that the scientific knowledge produced by universities principally contributes to private technology-based firms’ technological capital through non-pecuniary research spillovers, whereas the pecuniary technology transfer agreements remain uncertain or may even prove to be detrimental.

Practical implications

Firms that are considering locating or remaining in a university-affiliated SCP should be aware that the university's pecuniary orientation when managing its intellectual capital may become a barrier as regards the firm filling its technological capital shortages. From a university administrator perspective, the complementary or substitute role of technology transfer offices vis-à-vis SCPs should be considered in the light of the selling or revealing approach adopted by the university in order to commercialize and diffuse potential inventions.


This study contributes to existing literature by shedding light on the causal linkage between university research and firm innovation, obtaining evidence in favor of an upstream, non-pecuniary and revealing role of universities in support of the accumulation of technological capital amongst SCPs tenant firms.



The author would like to thank the Editor and anonymous reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments on the paper.


Villasalero, M. (2014), "University knowledge, open innovation and technological capital in Spanish science parks : Research revealing or technology selling?", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 479-496.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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