Gaining from interactions with universities: Multiple methods for nurturing absorptive capacity

Research Policy

This paper examines the various methods through which firms benefit from interactions with universities, arguing that such benefits are instrumental in nurturing the multiple facets of a firm?s absorptive capacity. We bring together data collected from a survey of UK firms that collaborated with universities, and firm-level data on past partnerships with universities. The results show that benefits from interactions with universities are multifaceted, including enhancement of the firm?s explorative and exploitative capabilities. Results also indicate that firms? R&D commitments, geographical proximity to and research quality of university partners have a distinct impact on the different types of benefits from interactions with universities. We find geographical proximity is crucial for assessing problem-solving as an important benefit, while interactions with top quality universities have a positive influence on the benefits associated with firms? downstream activities. We discuss the implications of these findings for research and policy.