Multiple perspectives on the challenges for knowledge transfer between higher education institutions and industry

Lockett, Nigel; Kerr, Ron and Robinson, Sarah (2008). Multiple perspectives on the challenges for knowledge transfer between higher education institutions and industry. International Small Business Journal, 26(6) pp. 661–681.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0266242608096088

Abstract

Knowledge transfer (KT) has been identified as an essential element of innovation, driving competitive advantage in increasingly knowledge-driven economies, and as a result recent UK Government reports have sought to increase awareness of the importance of KT within higher education institutions (HEIs).There is therefore a need for relevant empirical research that examines, from multiple perspectives, how KT policy is translated into practice within HEI contexts.This article responds to this need by presenting an in-depth qualitative case study based on over 50 semi-structured interviews with university-based academic and non-academic participants and representatives of small firms involved in InfoLab21, a high profile `centre of excellence' for research, development and commercialization of information and communications technology (ICT) in north-west England, UK. The study considers what the key practices of KT are and what promotes and/or hinders their development. Four overarching themes are identified: (1) motivation and reward mechanisms; (2) process management and evaluation; (3) clustering and brokerage; and (4) trust and bridge building. Each theme is considered from multiple perspectives and areas for further research are suggested.

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