To improve our understanding of the role that universities play in facilitating the transmission of knowledge to private-sector business enterprises so as to generate economic growth, this article builds on the Knowledge Spillover Theory of Entrepreneurship to develop a formal model of university-with-business enterprise collaborative research partnerships in which the outcome is both mutually desirable and feasible. This model shows that if a university seeks to act as a complement to private-sector collaborative R&D so that it will be attractive to both incumbent firms and startup entrepreneurs, it needs to structure its program so that business enterprise revenues increase and business enterprise R&D costs rise by a smaller proportion than revenues increase, if they rise at all (and a fall would be better). Such a structure is consistent with both business enterprise and university interests, but is only likely to be feasible if the university is subsidized to cover the cost of such public-private collaborative research partnerships. In the absence of such support, the university will have to cover its costs through a fee charged to participating business enterprises and that will result in the university being seen as a substitute rather than a complement to private-sector collaborative R&D, and thus the university will be seen as an unattractive partner for many business enterprises.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 15, 2013
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