Context, Innovation Capabilities, and Patterns of Knowledge
Corona, Juan Manuel
De Fuentes, Claudia
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Several studies from different bodies of literature have studied public private interactions from different perspectives. The literature of National Systems of Innovation suggests that universities and public research centres (PRC) can make an important contribution to innovation (Lundvall 1992; Nelson 1992; Edquist, 2001). The literature of The Triple Helix addresses the importance of university-industry-government linkages to generate and diffuse knowledge (Etzkowitz and Leytesdorff, 1997). These interactions promote virtuous circles in the production and diffusion of knowledge, especially if universities and PRC establish linkages with firms, where knowledge flows in both directions (Albuquerque, et al, 2008). University-PRC and firms' interactions change as the country develops (Eun, et al, 2006). The dynamic relationships between these two actors reflect a co-evolution of factors (Mowery and Sampat, 2005 and Albuquerque, et al, 2008). Those factors depend on the sector, the actors' specific capacities, their absorptive capacities and the culture embedded in each actor to interact with each other. Moreover, they respond to different incentives, academic researchers function within an academic logic, while firms' researchers depend on business logic. Most of the studies focus either on universities/PRC or firms (Mathews and Mei-Chih, 2007 among others), but especially for developing countries, few of them have tackled the analysis of the interactions from both perspectives (Bekkers and Bodas Freitas, 2008, Bittencourt, et al, 2008, Intarakumnerd and Schiller, 2008). Objective This paper focuses on universities/PRC and industries linkages and compares two NAFTA countries, Canada as a developed country and Mexico as a less developed country. The main aim of this paper is to analyze public-private interactions during three different stages: the main motives for interaction, knowledge flows during the interaction, and the main results derived from interaction. We start the analysis at a general level for both countries and we go further to identify the specificities among sectors. This study is a comparative analysis between Mexico and Canada. For the specific case of Mexico, the analysis is based on original data collected from two surveys carried out in Mexico during 2008. One focuses on researchers at firms and the other focuses on researchers at universities/PRC. Both surveys where designed under the umbrella project "Interactions between universities and firms: searching for paths to support the changing role of universities in the South". For Mexico 382 firms and 162 researchers from six specific fields of knowledge answered the questionnaire. For the case of Canada we focus on the innovation survey to analyze the firms' perspective. We will perform multivariate analysis techniques to analyze the information and we will build first order factors for universities/PRC and firms to identify the main knowledge flow mechanisms for universities/PRC and firms at a general level as well as at the sectoral level. Preliminary results from the Mexican firms' survey indicate that the main motives for firms to interact with universities/PRC is to identify excellent students for future recruiting (39.2%), to carry out tests for products/processes (32.4%), and to obtain technological advice to solve production problems (31.1%). We built eight knowledge flows mechanisms from universities/PRC to firms (out of 18 in the survey). From the firms' perspective, the knowledge flow mechanisms are related to (i) human resources development, (ii) information diffusion and joint technology projects; (iii) technological networking, and (iv) entrepreneurship and property rights. From the university/PRC perspective, we found that the knowledge flow mechanisms are related to (i) joint technology projects, (ii) information diffusion, (iii) technological networking and human resources development, and (iv) entrepreneurship and property rights. From the Mexican firms' perspective, the most important results from collaboration are related to the use of metrology facilities and laboratories, and new techniques and instruments for the firm. From the universities/PRC perspective, the most important results are related to networking and ideas for new research projects, research funding and reputation, and absorption of new knowledge and human resources development. From the Canadian firms' perspective, the most important sources of information are related to the interaction with suppliers and customers. The networking with other agents during conferences, fairs and exhibitions is also an important source of information. The interaction with universities/PRC is more important for radical innovations than for incremental innovations. The most important results from collaboration differ between both agents as they respond to different incentives and logic. Comparing both perspectives, we found that the most important knowledge flows for firms are those related to the formation of human resources. They also recognize that linkages with universities/PRC are important as sources of information, and to perform joint technology projects. The higher interaction between universities/PRC and firms in Canada is to develop radical innovations, while in Mexico, the most important interaction is to develop incremental innovations. On the other hand, universities/PRC perceive that the most important knowledge flows to industry are related to joint technology projects, while human resources development is not a very important mechanism. From the Mexican case, the knowledge transfer associated with entrepreneurship and property rights is the least important form of interaction. References Albuquerque, E. (2003) Immature systems of innovation: Introductory notes about a comparison between South Africa, India, Mexico and Brazil based on science and technology statistics, Conference paper at Globelics, Rio de Janeiro, 2003. Edquist, C. (2001) Innovation Systems and Innovation Policy: the state of the art, Conference paper at DRUID, 2001. Etzkowitz, H. and Leytesdorff, L. (1997), Universities in the global economy: A triple helix of academic-industry-government relation. London: Croom Helm. Eun, J., Lee, K. and WU, G. (2006) Explaining the university-run-enterprises in China. Research Policy, v. 35, pp.1329-1346. Lundvall (1992), National Systems of Innovation: Towards a Theory of Innovation and Interactive Learning, London. Mowery, D. and Sampat, B. (2005) Universities in National Innovation Systems. In: Fagerberg, J., Mowery, D. and Nelson, R. (2005) The Oxford Handbook of Innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nelson, R. (1992) National Innovation Systems: A Retrospective on a Study, In: Edquist, C. and McKelvey, M. (Eds.) (2000), Systems of Innovation: Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, pp. 363-390, Edwar Elgar, Great Britain. Bittencourt, P., Rapini, M., Britto, J., Póvoa, L. and Antunes, P. (2008) Patterns of universities-firms interaction in brazil in Four industrial sectors, Conference paper at Globelics, Mexico, 2008. Intarakumnerd, P. and Schiller, D. (2008) University-Industry Linkages in Thailand: Successes, Failures and Lessons Learned for other Developing Countries, Conference paper at Globelics, Mexico, 2008. Bekkers, R and Bodas Freitas, M. 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