Academic journal article Journal of Research Administration

Critical Success Factors for Knowledge Transfer Collaborations between University and Industry

Academic journal article Journal of Research Administration

Critical Success Factors for Knowledge Transfer Collaborations between University and Industry

Article excerpt


A global knowledge exchange landscape is swiftly changing, moving towards open innovation. The open innovation paradigm demonstrates the need to exploit internal and external knowledge and knowledge transfer pathways in order to remain competitive in a market place. Industrial companies are increasingly facing pressure from growing competition, a shortening product life cycle and increased complexity. There is a growing trend to explore external sources for innovation to acquire new ideas, develop new capabilities and access the latest academic research. Furthermore, engaging in partnerships with universities allows companies to leverage government funding and reduce the cost of their Research and Development (R&D) (Perkmann, 2011).

Similarly, universities are experiencing pressure to transform from an ivory tower mentality to an entrepreneurial mind-set and to contribute to national innovation agendas (Etzkowitz, 2000). They demonstrate a growing appetite to exploit their knowledge base and commercialize their intellectual property and technologies.

At a policy level, governments are actively influencing university-industry collaborations through supporting public-private partnership, developing strategies to support open innovation and creating a dynamic small to medium enterprises (SME) sector to accelerate technology commercialization. The triple helix (university-industry-government) development strategy is becoming a powerful national tool to develop an innovation mechanism and build stronger links between private and public research sectors (Etzkowitz et al., 2000; Ranga et al., 2008).


This research paper focuses on studying knowledge-transfer collaborations between academia and industry. Our specific objective is to identify success factors for such activities in the emerging market context, The aim of our research is to develop a framework for knowledge-transfer collaborations to support a strategic decision making process in order to evaluate potential collaborations between universities and industry.

Our research makes an attempt to undertake a holistic analysis of university-industry partnership in a multi-domain knowledge transfer context in order to identify critical success factors from multiple stakeholder perspectives.

The paper is based on a comprehensive literature review and develops a theoretical conceptual framework. The results of the literature review were used to design a stakeholders' questionnaire. The survey verified our findings from the literature review and provided new insights of the drivers and barriers in university-industry collaborations.

Literature Review and Theoretical Framework

For the purpose of our research we developed a theoretical framework integrating prior research in the field of knowledge transfer between universities and industry. The framework will be further tested through a stakeholders survey to verify and analyze our findings.

Literature Overview

The following sections provide a brief summary of key topics discussed in literature, which are relevant to our research topic.

Publications on our research topic widely cover an emerging trend in exploiting knowledge as a mechanism of national growth and the triple helix model (Etzkovitz & Dzisah, 2008; Ranga et al., 2008). There is a comprehensive discussion about knowledge transfer typology, process and determinants relevant to our research which are essential to understanding knowledge transfer mechanisms (Landry et al., 2007; Barbolla & Corredera, 2009; Lockett et al., 2009). A number of authors join a debate on knowledge transfer effectiveness citing organizational, individual and institutional aspects of organizations involved in knowledge exchange (Phan & Siegel, 2006; Pertuze et al., 2010; Burnside & Witkin, 2008; Horng & Hsueh, 2005; Wilson, 2012; Cummings & Teng, 2003; Kbalozadeh, 2011). …

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