دانشگاه ها و توسعه اقتصادی منطقه ای: کارآفرینی دانشگاه واترلو
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|6949||2008||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11597 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Research Policy, Volume 37, Issue 8, September 2008, Pages 1175–1187
This paper argues that the contribution of some universities to local and regional economic dynamism is much richer than overly mechanistic depictions suggest. Beyond generating commercializable knowledge and qualified research scientists, universities produce other mechanisms of knowledge transfer, such as generating and attracting talent to the local economy, and collaborating with local industry by providing formal and informal technical support. A detailed case study of the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, with its progressive Coop and Entrepreneurial education programs, and innovative Intellectual Property policy, illustrates the way in which the university has contributed to growth and innovation in the local and regional economy.
Universities have emerged as central actors in the knowledge-based economy, expected to play an active role in promoting technological change and innovation. However, the nature of their role in regional economic development is less well understood than is often presumed. While the presence of a leading research university is a critical asset for urban and regional economies, it is not sufficient in itself to stimulate strong regional economic growth because universities tend to be ‘catalysts’ of technological innovation rather than ‘drivers’ (Doutriaux, 2003 and Wolfe, 2005a). Yet many policymakers still view research universities as potential ‘knowledge factories’ for the new economy (David, 1997), with untapped reservoirs of commercializable knowledge waiting to be taken up by firms and applied. This mechanistic view of the way in which basic scientific research is transformed into commercial products demonstrates a misconception of the commercialization process itself, as well as the role that universities can and should be expected to play in that process. The flow of knowledge does drive innovation, but knowledge transfer from universities to industry is a fluid, complex and iterative process involving many different actors. As a consequence, the role of universities in technology transfer and commercialization is much more nuanced than traditional linear conceptions of the innovation process assume (Stokes, 1997 and Branscomb, 1997). From a theoretical perspective, the linear approach to technology transfer is being replaced by approaches that emphasize the interactive and social nature of the knowledge transfer process and the importance of tacit dimensions of knowledge. The goal of this paper is to suggest a more robust conception of the ways in which university-generated knowledge is transferred into the local economy. We argue that universities are not just generators of commercializable knowledge or even highly qualified research scientists; they provide other equally critical mechanisms of knowledge transfer. First, they generate and attract talent, which contributes both to the stock of tacit knowledge in the local economy, as well as to the ‘thickness’ of the local labour market ( Florida, 2002 and Betts and Lee, 2005). Second, in addition to the conduct of basic research, universities provide both formal and informal technical support, as well as specialized expertise and facilities for on-going, firm-based R&D activities ( Grossman et al., 2001, National Academy of Engineering, 2003 and Mowery et al., 2004). Third, universities act as a conduit enabling firms to access knowledge from the ‘global pipelines’ of international academic research networks ( Bathelt et al., 2004, Lawton Smith, 2003a and OECD, 1999). Finally, rather than acting as ‘ivory towers’ insulated from their community, they can function as ‘good community players’ that support firm formation and growth by facilitating tacit knowledge exchange among networks of innovative firms and acting as ‘anchors of creativity’ that sustain the virtuous cycle of talent attraction and retention ( Wolfe, 2005a, Henton et al., 1997, Gertler and Vinodrai, 2005 and Betts and Lee, 2005). This paper presents a theoretical discussion of the recent literature on universities, innovation and regional economic development, with a particular emphasis on the process of learning and mechanisms of tacit knowledge exchange between universities and local actors. It draws upon a detailed case study, based on 96 in-depth interviews with firms, associations, and knowledge institutions, of the dynamic cluster of information and communications technology firms in the Waterloo region of Ontario, Canada (Bramwell et al., 2008). The University of Waterloo, the leading post-secondary educational institution in the region, emerges as a strong example of an ‘entrepreneurial research university’ that is actively engaged with the process of economic development in the local community (Tornatzky et al., 2002). While commercialization activities and the spin-off of startup firms have clearly contributed to the region's economic success, other equally important forms of knowledge transfer are occurring and the university's role in economic development transcends the success of its commercialization efforts. In relation to the framework outlined above, the University of Waterloo has been a critical catalyst for local economic development through its ability to generate and attract the talent that underpins academic and applied excellence in science, math and engineering, support for local firm-based R&D, and its explicit institutional support for entrepreneurial activity at the local level. A research finding of particular importance is the intermediary function of the Co-operative Education Program in facilitating the transfer of tacit knowledge between students and local and non-local ICT firms.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
There are many variations on the theme of entrepreneurial universities, of which the University of Waterloo is but one manifestation. The potential for universities to contribute to local and regional economic development is being explored across the industrialized countries. In the UK, an alliance between Cambridge University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) – is a joint government and industry-funded initiative, intended to improve productivity, competitiveness and entrepreneurialism through the design and testing of innovative mechanisms that promote university–industry knowledge exchange. The primary knowledge exchange mechanisms are Knowledge Integration Communities (KICs) comprising academic researchers, industry participants, government policymakers and educators, who collaborate on “multifaceted solutions” to address technological, economic, and social issues (Acworth, 2008). The University of Twente, a new, poorly endowed university in a peripheral region in the Netherlands, like the University of Waterloo, also developed a “strong entrepreneurial vision” and was able to facilitate entrepreneurial academic spin-off activity and generate and employ talent on a local level, as well as develop research excellence in several emerging areas of science and engineering (Lazzeretti and Tavoletti, 2005). In response to policy directions begun in the 1990s, Sweden has experimented with different modes of university–industry linkages, and Chalmers University of Technology was transformed into an “entrepreneurial” university. However, in this case, an emphasis on commercialization without the appropriate macro-institutional supports and micro-institutional, or university level, flexibility, has made the experience comparatively problematic and lackluster, substantiating the assertion that the presence of a strong research university in itself is no guarantee of regional economic growth (Jacob et al., 2003). In Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, regardless of whether or not firms had formal or informal links to the university or no links at all, most of them cited the presence of the University of Waterloo as a critical factor in the development of the local high-tech entrepreneurial economy. In fact, a number of firms reported limited involvement with university research activities, and some alluded to a disconnect between the expectations of firms and the university, suggesting that Waterloo may get a larger share of the credit than its total input into the local economy warrants. However, even firms with tangential or no ties to the university, such as those who only hire co-op students, or those who simply comment on the international cachet of the University of Waterloo, still cite the presence of the university as a critical factor for the strength of the regional economy. On the other hand, the large number of firms that report their close involvement with the university depict the synergistic relationship that has emerged as a result of the university being located in Waterloo. The University of Waterloo is consistently cited as an important source of spin-off activity, R&D resources and support, talented and educated people, and progressive and innovative entrepreneurial activities, as well as formal and informal local and global linkages. As a result of the density of its interaction with local firms, the university is an embedded actor in the regional economy, and plays a critical intermediary function with the local high-tech community: “companies like us …were fundamentally there because we wanted to be close to the innovative and active environment of the university, the source of students, co-op students. It was an exciting environment.”1 A consistent theme that emerges from our interviews is the perception of the University of Waterloo's ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ that is perpetuated through a virtuous cycle of deep and interactive links with the local industrial community: There is an entrepreneurial identification process where students go back and forth to industry which gives individuals experience in industry. Faculty members will go back and talk to their students, co-op students are enthusiastic coming back from their terms. The University IP policy also attracts entrepreneurial researchers interested in the IP dividend with strong commitments to industry. Due to various programs such as the co-op program, the University of Waterloo has had from the outset very strong University – industry linkages. As a result we’ve never had any major problems promoting University industry linkages as it pays dividends in the community.1 The intention of this research has been to shed light on the distinctive dynamics at work when a university not only develops academic excellence in disciplines with direct research applications to industry, such as software engineering, but also sets out explicitly to develop linkages with industry for the purposes of regional economic development. To do this, we argue that knowledge transfer mechanisms from universities are far more robust than the linear conception of commercialization implies. The University of Waterloo stands out as a particularly successful instance of an ‘entrepreneurial research university’ that is deeply engaged in the local high-tech industrial community. Despite obvious societal benefits to increased university–industry interaction, however, this is not to suggest that an entrepreneurial university is in any way qualitatively superior to a traditional one. Universities generate and disseminate knowledge as a common good. The central lesson that emerges from this study is the inestimable benefit of combining a world-class academic reputation for teaching and research with the nurturing of an ‘entrepreneurial attitude of mind’ among faculty and students. The University of Waterloo has been particularly effective at both.