Universities, Industry, and Government in Collaboration: A Review of the Literature on Research Centers
University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy
September 14, 2009
Research has become more complex, involving large teams of researchers, often at multiple institutions. The university research center (URC) has emerged as an important feature of this research environment. URCs represent an especially large and growing influence over university research with ties to industry and commercialization potential. The review begins with a summary of conceptual issues, including definition, description, categorization, and contextualization of URCs. In the second section, the review examines the central activity underlying the URC concept, collaboration. The third section reviews the literature on URC evaluation, including methodological recommendations and examples. The concluding section develops a systemic model of the URC and its stakeholders and recommends approaches to evaluation and directions for future research guided by the challenges facing the center approach to government-funded university research. The model includes the contributions government, industry, and university stakeholders make to URCs and the benefits they seek in return. This model considers the URC as a multiparty alliance with formal and informal aspects. The model posits that a URC can be successfully established if credible formal or informal contracts support agreements that the parties will make the expected contributions and that desired benefits will be obtained and distributed. This model is especially relevant to the challenge of sustainability for URCs. It also reflects the progression in research on URCs from the center level to increased consideration of issues affecting constituent parts of centers, such as faculty or firms, and situates each part within a system.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: University Research Centers, university-industry collaboration, technology transfer
JEL Classification: H52, L33, O32, O38working papers series
Date posted: September 25, 2011
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