CIMR Research in Focus 14: Unveiling Pathways of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange

Welcome to the latest installment of our ‘Research in Focus’ series, where we shine a spotlight on the most impactful research activities from our CIMR members during the past term. In this edition, we delve into two key areas that have seen remarkable engagement and exploration: Innovation and University Knowledge Exchange and Engagement.

Innovation: Connecting Disabled Entrepreneurs to Urban Spaces

One of the groundbreaking papers that has emerged from our Innovation research focus is by Professor Helen Lawton Smith, titled ‘Public Spaces, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Connecting Disabled Entrepreneurs to Urban Spaces’ (2023). The paper unveils the intricate relationship between urban environments and Inclusive Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (IEEs).

Drawing evidence from a comprehensive UK study on support geographies for disabled and ethnically diverse entrepreneurs conducted between 2020 and 2021, the paper underscores the pivotal role of urban spaces in shaping the functionality of formal networks. This study not only enriches our understanding of the interplay between urban spaces and disabled entrepreneurs but also underscores the significance of fostering integrated ecosystems for entrepreneurial growth and inclusivity.

Innovation Ecosystems in the New Economic Era: Digital Revolution and Ecological Transition

The second noteworthy paper that has emerged from our Innovation research strand is authored by Professors Bernard Laperche and Dimitri Uzunidis. Their paper ‘Innovation Ecosystems in the New Economic Era: Digital Revolution and Ecological Transition’ (2023) is a deep exploration into the synergy between innovation ecosystems and the evolving socio-economic landscape in the wake of the digital revolution and ecological imperatives.

This pioneering work challenges the conventional linear growth model and underscores the need for an economic trajectory that curbs resource wastage and environmental impact. By elucidating the symbiotic relationship between digital technologies and ecological challenges, the research offers a pathway to a more responsible and sustainable future.

Broadening Horizons in Knowledge Exchange: A Special Issue

Our journey into the realm of University Knowledge Exchange and Engagement begins with a remarkable special issue titled ‘Reconceptualizing University Contribution to Knowledge Exchange’. Spearheaded by the brilliant minds of Chiara Marzocchi, Fumi Kitagawa, Federica Rossi, and Elvira Uyarra, this special issue invites us to a nuanced exploration of motivations, channels, and stakeholders in knowledge exchange.

The seven papers curated in this special issue collectively paint a broader canvas of Knowledge Exchange, stretching across diverse audiences and impacts. This issue delves deep into the intricate web of university missions – Teaching, Research, and Third Mission – and unravels the complex dance of tensions and trade-offs between them. As a result, it casts light on facets that have often remained in the shadows of academic discourse, enriching our comprehension of the multidimensional world of Knowledge Exchange.

Tracing the Origins of University Venture Capital in Big Data

Next on our expedition is an enthralling paper by Helen Lawton Smith and Henry Etzkowitz titled ‘University Venture Capital in Big Data, Regional, and Historical Perspective: Where and Why Has It Arisen?‘. This study not only unveils the historical underpinnings of UVC but also shines a light on its entwined relationship with regional development, big data, and the evolving socio-economic landscape.

Revolutionizing Knowledge Transfer and Collaboration in Spain

In our quest to unravel the intricacies of knowledge transfer and collaboration, we encounter a thought-provoking study by Félix-Fernando Muñoz from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). This study, ‘Improving Knowledge Transfer and Collaboration between Science and Business in Spain‘, offers a comprehensive evaluation of Spain’s innovation ecosystem.

Proposing a paradigm shift, the study advocates for granting universities and public research organizations greater operational autonomy in exchange for outcome-based accountability. It underscores the importance of weaving a seamless fabric of incentives that incentivize both individuals and organizations to foster sustained investment in connecting science and business.

Navigating the Geography of Academic Entrepreneurship

Last but certainly not least, we delve into the enlightening work of Helen Lawton Smith. Her latest book, ‘The Geography of Academic Entrepreneurship’ , is a compass for understanding the geography of academic entrepreneurship, and ushers us into the world of spin-offs, firm growth, and regional influence.

Drawing attention to the significance of place, Lawton Smith’s book unfurls how a firm’s location not only shapes its inception but also influences its network of support and collaborative entities. This exploration encompasses varied geographical contexts, fortified by diverse methodologies and a global tapestry of evidence. The book’s narrative guides us through the intricate threads connecting academic spin-offs, their founders, the firms themselves, and the nurturing universities.

Stay tuned for more exciting research activity from our CIMR members on multi-disciplinary academic, industrial and commercial themes relating to the management of innovation!


August 2023 – Gabriella Losito