Here is a continuation of academic findings on the evolution of university research and innovation. What is interesting is a move towards recognizing the significance of many aspects that are hard to organize and control.
Recommendations for university innovation policy at a general level by Smits, Kuhlmann and Teubal (2010) are that programs must now favour evolution and variation; universities must build platforms for learning and experimentation; they must stimulate demand articulation and the development of vision among business practitioners; and assist them with strategic intelligence, including environmental scan.
Significance of Complex and Varied Interactions for University Innovation
Apart from broad policy discussion, attention is also paid to the richness and variety of activity at the small firm and individual levels.
McAdam et al (2005) explain that complex and dynamic behaviour associated with technology transfer business processes, combined with the technological risk involved in the participating small firms, has led to a lack of business process definition and improvement in this area. Key research questions suggested by these authors include: is there a method for evaluating technological risk in emerging technologies within new technology based firms in university innovation centres?
These authors define a series of activities associated with technology transfer relating to such firms in university innovation centres, within a science park infrastructure:
- idea generation;
- new knowledge creation;
- spin out and spin in companies;
- technology licensing;
- securing intellectual property;
- venture capital and funding;
- technology appraisal; and
- developing business plans and business growth.
Since these activities are often complex and interrelated, and incur high risk, there is a need for: 1. systematic provision of services in relation to business and management; and 2. action research to explore the practical application of assistance techniques.
Bercovitz and Feldman (2007) point out that the university is typically thought to facilitate start-ups at the early stages of knowledge creation. “Yet, in practice, university research involves a rich mix of scientific discovery, clinical trials, beta testing, and prototype development.”
Langford et al. (2005) identify 5 pathways by which innovation crosses institutional boundaries, saying there is little Canadian information on the “subtle pathways of information exchange and technical assistance”. Innovation is “idiosyncratic, entirely dependent on context, individual and organizational capacities, and unique circumstances”. The authors call for case studies to explore these aspects.
Here is a pdf of my University Research Innovation references.