INTERACT – INvesTigating thE micRofoundAtions of socioeconomic impaCt of universiTy-industry relations
The Novo Nordisk Foundation has provided a grant as part of their social science research program’s call within “The Socioeconomic Impact of Research in Denmark” to the INTERACT project that aims to explore the microfoundations that underlie the transmission of knowledge from university to industry and that will ultimately lead to socioeconomic impact. The project is hosted by the Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO) at the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen.
Based on changing macro- and microeconomic conditions, there is a growing recognition that companies are increasingly moving towards open innovation models that more heavily rely on external sources of knowledge. With universities being a particularly important source of external knowledge for innovation, university-industry relations get to the center stage of corporate innovation processes. As such, a large part of the socioeconomic impact of university research is established through university-industry relations, which can take place through a wide variety of different knowledge transmission channels. However, the more detailed mechanisms that underlie these channels and how they ultimately lead to socioeconomic impact are not fully understood. We propose that a microfoundations perspective can provide important insights into how the individual-level decisions, actions and interactions can aggregate to macro-level impact. In this research project, we therefore explore the microfoundations that underlie the transmission of knowledge from university to industry and that will ultimately lead to socioeconomic impact.
Our research plan consists of a three-stage research design. First, we conduct an in-depth case study of the Faculty of Science (SCIENCE) at the University of Copenhagen to uncover how institutional conditions and individual actions and interactions affect knowledge transmission mechanisms of researchers. Second, we conduct a longitudinal ethnography of selected researchers at the Faculty of Science to unravel the detailed processes and microfoundational aspects of how these researchers engage with industry. Third, we conduct a controlled policy capturing experiment with university researchers and company employees to validate the underlying mechanisms of university-industry collaboration by investigating the decision-making criteria to engage with industry.