Title : Opening the black box of university-suppliers' co-invention: some field study evidence.
Author(s) : Sofia Patsali
Abstract : While there is extensive evidence that the flow of knowledge between academia and industry is important, scholars have noticed that little is known about the actual transmission mechanisms of these influences (Rosenberg and Nelson, 1994; Kenney and Patton, 2009). The paucity of research reflects the fact that university-industry exchanges are a complex process that involves many factors that are difficult to grasp. Furthermore, the practical benefits of most university research for companies stem from interactions and processes that are very much roundabout and indirect (Pavitt, 2005). For instance, a case in point of such processes consists of the technology-intensive interactions between academics and their suppliers of equipment (Perkmann and Walsh, 2007). This paper explores the emergence of dynamic complementarities among researchers’ demand and suppliers’ competencies and aims to identify the dynamic processes through which university labs serve as learning-environment for suppliers. We conducted field-study based on a set of instrumental devices developed in close collaboration between University of Strasbourg laboratories on the one hand, and equipment manufacturers on the other hand. Our case studies illustrate a multitude of patterns through which researchers share their technological knowledge with industrial suppliers. More precisely, our evidence shows the presence of a “procurement-led” innovation phenomenon wherein university researchers provide companies with unique insights by acting both as equipment-demanders as well as suppliers of scientific knowledge about instruments, ultimately allow firms to explore new innovative trajectories.
Key-words : University-industry interactions; scientific instrumentation; technology co-development; public procurement.
JEL Classification : D22, D83, H57, O33