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Evaluation of the Role of Universities in the Innovation Process

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The aim of the paper is to evaluate the role of universities in the innovation process. Against the background of theoretical considerations about the interrelation of innovation and the adaptation of external resources, the effects of university-based (knowledge) resources – together with other exogenous variables – on the innovation input and output of firms in the German manufacturing industry are empirically investigated and evaluated. The estimation results on the innovation input side can be summarized as follows: High assessments to university-based resources and joint R&D with universities increase the probability that firms are engaged in the development of new products and technologies. Further, the estimations point out stimulating effects of science-related resources on the level of in-house R&D. In general, resources stemming from universities are used as complements in the German manufacturing industry. In-house capacities can be expanded with positive impacts on the probability and the level of R&D activities. The estimation results for the innovation output side are ambiguous: On the one hand, empirical evidence of enhancing impacts of resources stemming from universities on the realization of process innovations has been found. This strengthens the assumption that science-related resources are used to optimize production processes and to save production costs. On the other hand, external resources from the academic sphere have no stimulating effects on the probability of realizing product innovations. University-based resources stimulate the development of new products more indirectly by increasing in-house capacities and enhancing R&D efficiency. But finally, the empirical analysis point out positive impacts of joint R&D with universities on the realization of product innovations. Obviously, collaboration in R&D with universities offer possibilities of efficient knowledge transfer, resource exchange and organizational learning.

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Wolfgang Becker

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Adapt according to the presented license agreement and reference the original author.