The engagement with industry actors is a key element in the transition towards an entrepreneurial university model. The purpose of this paper is to explore the university–industry collaboration (UIC) drivers from the industry side. It analyses how, and to what extent, policy interventions could increase the engagement of industry actors in UICs.
An experimental research design has been used involving a feasibility and pilot study (January to June 2018) with 36 firms, in a non-urban region context, with a satellite university campus. The pilot study explores a randomised control trial (RCT) design, with a training intervention to a randomized group of participants in the pilot study.
Firms involved in universities’ students (academic forms of UICs) might not necessarily consider the university as a research partner, even in a geographic proximity setting. In addition, there is a potential “dark-side” to proximity, when industry participants build their perceptions using second-hand experiences or indirect information. A training intervention facilitates to overcome pre-existing biases but does not trigger a substantial change in the UIC’s behaviour of the firms in the short-term.
The pilot study provides valuable insights for researchers interested in a larger RCT. It also provides insights for university managers who want to understand the motivations of industry participants in UICs.
The experimental approach of the research generates evidence on the feasibility to intervene in the activation of UICs from an industry perspective, a central aspect in transition towards an entrepreneurial university model.
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