University-Industry interactions in Brazil: Mapping research groups database from 2004
Righi, Hérica Morais
Rapini, Márcia Siqueira
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The innovative activity is an important instrument to promote countries and economies development (Schumpeter, 1982). It’s important to stress that it's not an individual effort but a result of a collective process (Nelson, 2004). Inside this dynamic that university-industry interaction should be understood and investigated. The importance of the university-industry linkage has been frequently discussed in the literature about National System of Innovation (NSI). In the innovative process, firms play an important role since they generate new technologies with the support from others institutions. In this context, universities develop and train human resources and generate scientific knowledge that can be used in firms’ innovative activities. So, interactive relationships between firms and universities can be a powerful source of innovation and news technologies generation. Based on the assumption that university-industry (U-I) interaction is specific to each country, as it depends on national Science and Technology (S&T) infrastructure, the aim of this paper is an initial effort to map this interaction in Brazil by university’s perspective. So, it will be analyzed the database from CNPq’s Directory of Research Groups. The unit of investigation is the research groups that declared any relationship with productive sector in 2004. CNPq, is a 50-year-old organization of the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology, responsible for distributing research grants to the Brazilian scientific and technological communities. Its Directory of Research Groups is a database, which started to be collected in the early 1990s and is renewed every second year. It comprises detailed information about research activities in Brazil using the ´Research group’ as the unity of analysis. The directory provides an excellent proxy for studying research activities in Brazil, even though the adherence to it is voluntary3. Although there are limitations intrinsic to information collection, the database supplies some importance evidence from recent university-industry interactions in Brazil that will be used in this paper. Beyond this introduction, the article has 4 more sections. The next section summarizes the background from university-firms interactions embracing the main contributions of academic activities to firm’s innovation and the sectoral specificities in university-firms interactions. Section two describes the database and the methodology used to construct it. Section three shows university-firms interactions in Brazil in different level of investigation being in state level, knowledge area, size of the firms and interactive disciplines areas and firms sector of activity. Finally remains the conclusion of the paper.