PurposeUniversities are expected to accelerate and optimize their role as economic growth engines. Technology transfer is a traditional way of expanding knowledge exchange, and it is typically used in hard sciences. This paper aims to discuss academic consultancy as a novel way to bring especially social sciences, humanities and arts (SSHA sciences) knowledge into the society. In addition, it seeks practical ways to combine both university’s and individual researcher’s needs in consultancy.Design/methodology/approachA case study comprising interviews at two Finnish universities was conducted. Literature on academic consulting was used as background knowledge. International benchmarking was done through interviews and desk top studies. Some background statistics was extracted from the financial database for received research funding from businesses and ministries.FindingsCorporate funding is most prominent in hard sciences, and SSHA sciences seem to get their funding mainly from public sources. SSHA researchers provide services for firms, but these relationships are generally private. According to interviews, there is will to consult firms through university, but researcher’s time limitations, remuneration and academic merit related to consultancy are important factors when consultancy guidelines are drawn. The administration view is expanded from only research staff to include the entire university knowledge production ecosystem and its members.Originality/valueAcknowledging the value of SSHA sciences is topical because the respect towards humanities and social studies seems to be in decline in some developed countries. However, according to this study, academic consulting could have great potential in bringing the human perspective into the digitalized society. The quantification of knowledge exchange would benefit from formal, institutionalized consultancy sales. More studies are needed to assess the impact of academic consultancy on society.
International Journal of Innovation Science – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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