Minding the communications gap: How can universities signal the availability and value of their scientific knowledge to commercial organizations?

Shukhrat Nasirov, Amol M. Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We posit that a communications gap exists between universities and commercial organizations, attributed to their idiosyncratic goals, interests, and incentives. To bridge this gap, universities need to recognize and leverage observable differences in the strength of signals and the width of channels used to disseminate their scientific knowledge externally. We explore these ideas by analyzing knowledge dissemination and academic engagement activities in 133 UK universities in the period 2011–2019. Our analysis shows that universities with a lower scientific impact have a higher intensity of collaborative research, contract research, and consultancy activities if they communicate that impact through more prominent scientific outlets. In turn, universities with a higher scientific impact have a lower intensity of interaction with commercial organizations if they communicate their scientific impact through less prominent scientific outlets. We further reveal that universities with a higher economic impact show a higher intensity of collaborative research. At the same time, we find no evidence that the social impact generated by universities is linked to the intensity of university-industry interaction, no matter the channels through which that impact is communicated. Using these findings, we draw implications for practice and policy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104870
JournalResearch Policy
Volume52
Issue number9
Early online date14 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • University-industry interaction
  • Scientific impact
  • Economic impact
  • Social impact
  • Signaling theory
  • Collaborative research
  • Contract research
  • Academic consulting

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute of Innovation Research

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