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SUCCESS FACTORS IN UNIVERSITY-INDUSTRY COLLABORATION: LESSONS LEARNED FROM A CASE STUDY

B. Bigliardi1, A. Chiesi2, S. Filippelli1, L. Tagliente3

1University of Parma (ITALY)
2University of Parma / Chiesi Farmaceutici SpA (ITALY)
3University of San Marino (SAN MARINO)
This paper addresses the question of which factors are relevant in determining the development of University-Industry collaboration. A considerable body of studies highlights the relevance of university-industry collaboration (hereafter UIC). In particular, in today's competitive environment, a firm has to catch up with technological progress in order to continuously innovate. This is fundamental for its growth and survival. However, both practitioners and academics agreed in stating that it is difficult for firms to explore new technologies and to develop innovation based only on their (often limited) resources [1].

Thus, it has been recognized that an enhancement of UIC should help companies in this direction. Scholars argue that such collaboration is enhanced by a firm's level of openness to external stakeholders and its absorptive capacity. Absorptive capacity is defined as a firm's ability to assimilate new knowledge and information and apply it for business purposes [2]. The greater the absorptive capacity of a company and its degree of openness, the greater the possibility of realizing collaboration with universities and research centers [3]. Specifically, several advantages have been identified in the extant literature, among them the reduction of R&D costs and risks decentralization. In general, such collaboration is becoming more and more crucial to the success of industrial innovation for most countries. In particular, due to the fact that linkages among universities and industry comprise significant parts of regional as well as national innovation systems, enhanced collaboration between them is crucial for the competitiveness of the country as a whole [4].

To shed light on the question on which the paper is based, the paper followed a two-steps methodology. As first, we developed a review of the extant literature on the success factors in UIC. As second, we developed a case study to shed further light on the identified literature. Specifically, we investigated a case of UIC between a University and some local firms.

References:
[1] Audretsch, D. B., Coad, A., & Segarra, A. “Firm growth and innovation.” Small business economics, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 743-749, 2014.
[2] Zahra, S. A., & George, G. “Absorptive capacity: A review, reconceptualization, and extension.” Academy of management review, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 185-203, 2002.
[3] Kaymaz, K., & Eryiğit, K. Y. “Determining factors hindering university-industry collaboration: An analysis from the perspective of academicians in the context of entrepreneurial science paradigm.” International Journal of Social Inquiry, vol. 4, no. 1, 2011.
[4] Tseng, F. C., Huang, M. H., & Chen, D. Z. “Factors of university–industry collaboration affecting university innovation performance.” The Journal of Technology Transfer, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 560-577, 2020.