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


In a fast moving business environment university-industry collaborations play a critical role in contributing to national economies and furthering a competitive advantage. Knowledge transfer from university to industry is supported by national governments as part of their innovation, national growth and competitiveness agenda. A university-industry landscape involves multiple stakeholders with multiple, and often contradicting, objectives and organizational mind-set and cultures. The paper is based on a systematic literature review of the effectiveness of university-industry collaborations from a holistic perspective in order to identify drivers and barriers to a fruitful collaboration. A dedicated section explores knowledge transfer in the emerging market context to provide an international dimension to a growing international trend in university-industry collaboration. The key findings on success factors relate to organizational and individual contexts, knowledge attributes and relational aspects. The literature research findings are further tested through a survey of key stakeholders: university managers, researchers, industry managers and government representatives, revealing differences in perception among various stakeholders' groups. The paper provides an insight into drivers and potential barriers in university-industry collaborations. The findings enable developing a practical framework for the universities to support their decision-making process. The framework can be used a support tool for evaluating university-industry collaborations both generally and in the international context.

Keywords: triple helix, university-industry collaboration, knowledge transfer, critical success factors, emerging markets, developing countries, competition


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 ah, 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 knowledgetransfer 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. …

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