Harnessing Public Research for Innovation in the 21st Century

How can policymakers improve the efficiency of knowledge transfer practices to help maximize innovation-driven growth and seek practical solutions to critical societal challenges?

The book ‘Harnessing Public Research for Innovation in the 21st Century: An International Assessment of Knowledge Transfer Policies’ – edited by Anthony Arundel (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University and University of Tasmania), Suma Athreye (Essex Business School, London, and CIMR Fellow) and Sacha Wunsch-Vincent (World Intellectual Property Organization) – aims to develop a conceptual framework to evaluate knowledge transfer practices and outcomes, improve knowledge transfer metrics, surveys and evaluation frameworks, generate findings on what does and does not work, and propose related policy lessons.

“Enabling access to cutting-edge research is vital to tackling the challenges countries face. It is thus ever more important to identify which knowledge transfer practices work and which do not. This research is critical in this regard.” Pippa Hall, Director of Innovation, Intellectual Property Office, United Kingdom

“This book represents a major step towards reaching a systematic approach to the measurement of knowledge transfer practices and outcomes.” Hu Zhijian, President, Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development

“Unlike most existing work in this area, this book emphasizes that firms benefit from academic research not only through formal but also more informal channels and from open science, and the tensions and complementarities between these two.” Bhaven Sampat, Associate Professor, Columbia University

“Going forward, knowledge transfer will play a pivotal role in driving future growth in Africa. We welcome this book and encourage the African measurement community to invest in related metrics.” Philippe Kuhutama Mawoko, former Executive Secretary, African Observatory for Science, Technology and Innovation, African Union Commission

Table of Contents
Part I. Setting the Context: 1. The evolving role of public R&D and public
research institutions in innovation; 2. Evaluating knowledge transfer policies and practices: conceptual framework and metrics; 3. Measuring global patenting of universities and public organizations
Part II. Selected Comparative Country Studies; 4. United Kingdom; 5. Germany; 6. Republic of Korea; 7. Brazil; 8. China; 9. South Africa
Part III. The Way Forward: 10. Policies and practices for supporting successful knowledge transfer from public research to firms; 11. Policy recommendations: aiming for effective knowledge transfer policies in high-and middle-income countries; 12. Toward a comprehensive set of metrics for knowledge transfer.


Arundel, A., Athreye, S. and Wunsch-Vincent, S. (Eds.) (2021) ‘Harnessing Public Research for Innovation in the 21st Century: An International Assessment of Knowledge Transfer Policies’, Cambridge University Press


The online version of the book will be open access.