University-to-Industry Knowledge Transfer: Literature Review and Unanswered Questions

18 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2003

See all articles by Ajay Agrawal

Ajay Agrawal

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Abstract

This paper reviews the economic literature concerning university-to-industry knowledge transfer. Papers on this topic are divided into four categories. Research in the 'firm characteristics' category focuses directly on company issues, such as internal organization, resource allocation, and partnerships. In contrast, research in the 'university characteristics' stream pays little attention to the firms that commercialize inventions, but rather focuses on issues relating to the university, such as licensing strategies, incentives for professors to patent, and policies such as taking equity in return for intellectual property. The 'geography in terms of localized spillovers' stream of research considers the spatial relationship between firms and universities relative to performance in terms of knowledge transfer success. Finally, the 'channels of knowledge transfer' literature examines the relative importance of various transfer pathways between universities and firms, such as publications, patents, and consulting. Each of these research streams is discussed and key papers are described highlighting important methodologies and results. Finally, an outline of topics requiring further research in each of the four categories is offered.

Suggested Citation

Agrawal, Ajay, University-to-Industry Knowledge Transfer: Literature Review and Unanswered Questions. International Journal of Management Reviews, Vol. 3, pp. 285-302, December 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=450953

Ajay Agrawal (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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