CIMR Research in Focus 13: Innovation and academic knowledge exchange

Welcome to another edition of our CIMR Research in Focus!

Our CIMR members have been very busy working on a variety of new papers and studies, and with this blog we would to deep dive into the latest research produced in the fields of Innovation and academia and knowledge exchange during the last term.

Innovation field

Within the research field of Innovation, our CIMR Deputy Director Federica Rossi, Annalisa Caloffi, Ana Colovic, and Valentina Rizzoli have published a study investigating which organisations engage in innovation intermediation activities, how they differ, and how they relate to each other. The computational analysis of the literature on innovation intermediaries presented in this article sheds light on their critical role in fostering innovation. The study highlights the diverse actors involved, the importance of trust and social networks, and the varied functions performed by intermediaries. These insights contribute to a better understanding of how innovation ecosystems can be effectively supported and nurtured.

Within the same field, our CIMR Director Helen Lawton Smith with Dr Ning Baines and Dr Te Klangboonkrong have released a study exploring product/service innovation process in UK University spin-offs from practice-based lens. The study makes several contributions. It extends the understanding of academic entrepreneurship and practice-based innovation by exemplifying the interactions between the logics of development and production in the context of USOs. The research also highlights the fundamental differences in product and service development norms between small and large firms.

Furthermore, Ibukun Onitiju has released a research highlighting the challenges of blockchain adoption in the food supply chain in West Africa, and Dr Chunjia Han explored the role of lead users in firms’ decision of consideration and implementation of innovative ideas

Field of Academia and its engagement with businesses

Additional research has been released within the field of academia and their engagement with businesses.

Claudio Fassio, Aldo Geuna and Federica Rossi examine the role of personal and organizational factors as drivers of international collaborations between firms and universities.  The findings of this research indicate that interactions with national universities are facilitated by personal linkages of the inventors, whereas collaborations with international universities depend more on MNE pipelines. The article also emphasizes the management perspective and highlights the significance of individuals involved in international collaborations with universities.

Claudio Fassio and Ioana Igna also analyse the employment choices of foreign graduates, as compared to those of native graduates, in the Swedish economy. The research emphasize that foreign students are a valuable source of new competences and skills in Sweden’s high-tech sector, benefiting both manufacturing and services. This highlights the positive impact of policies aimed at attracting and retaining foreign graduates, enhancing the local pool of human capital for high-tech firms. However, it is essential to ensure that foreign graduates do not start their careers in jobs that do not utilize their qualifications, as this represents a mismatch between their potential and actual contribution to the host economy.

Finally, with their study “The relationship between universities’ funding portfolios and their knowledge exchange profiles: A dynamic capabilities view”, Abhijit Sengupta and Federica Rossi contribute significantly to the growing understanding of the modern dynamic university and how its KE profile reshapes itself in response to changing higher education landscape.

We hope these articles offer some food for thought for those interested in innovation and academic knowledge exchange. We welcome suggestions for future research topics as well as questions to be covered in our policy debates.

CIMR can be contacted using the details in our contact page.


May 2023 – Gabriella Losito