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University-SME collaboration and innovation performance: the role of informal relationships and absorptive capacity

Roberta Apa (), Valentina De Marchi (), Roberto Grandinetti () and Silvia Rita Sedita ()
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Roberta Apa: University of Milan
Roberto Grandinetti: University of Padova
Silvia Rita Sedita: University of Padova

The Journal of Technology Transfer, 2021, vol. 46, issue 4, No 5, 988 pages

Abstract: Abstract This work analyzes the impact of university–industry collaborations (UICs) on the innovation performance of a sample of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) located in Veneto, a region in the north-east of Italy, which is considered particularly representative of the often-cited “innovation without research” model. We consider two aspects of such UICs that have never been at the center of theoretical and empirical debates on the innovation capacity of SMEs and whose importance has only recently been recognized. The first aspect is the variety of forms that UIC can take. Specifically, we distinguish between formal and informal collaborations. The second aspect is the possible influence of the absorptive capacity of SMEs on their ability to gaining from UICs in terms of innovation performance. We combine statistical analysis of the results of a survey administered to 179 SMEs in Veneto with a collection of anecdotal evidence to show that UICs effectively increase SMEs’ innovation performance.

Keywords: University–industry collaboration; Innovation; SME; Formal and informal collaboration (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L14 O31 O32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s10961-020-09802-9

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