Research-Based Spin-Offs as Agents of Knowledge Dissemination

Conference proceedings article

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Subtitle: Evidence From the Analysis of Innovation Networks
Author list: Conceicao O, Sousa C, Fontes M
Publication year: 2015
Start page: 130
End page: 138
Number of pages: 9
ISBN: 978-1-910810-49-1
ISSN: 2049-1050
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


The paper addresses the role played by research-based spin-offs (RBSOs) as knowledge dissemination mechanisms, through their position in knowledge networks. For this purpose the paper analyses the formal networks established by the Portuguese RBSOs in the context of publicly funded research, technology and pre-commercial product development projects, and investigates their configuration along two levels. At organisational level, in order to understand whether RBSOs extend their reach beyond the academic sphere; and if they do, whether they relate with similar firms or connect to organisations located downstream in the knowledge value chain, and which is their position in networks involving both research organisations and other firms. At spatial level, in order to understand whether RBSOs extend their reach beyond the region where they are created, thus potentially acting as connectors between diverse regions. The analysis starts from the population of RBSOs created in Portugal until 2007 (387) and identifies those that have established formal technological relationships as part of projects funded by all the programmes launched in the period 1993-2012. As a result, the analysis encompasses 192 collaborative projects and involves 82 spin-offs and 281 partners, of which only 20% are research organisations, the remaining being other firms and a variety of other user organisations. The results, although still preliminary, provide some insights into the knowledge networking behaviour of the RBSOs. As expected, research organisations are a central actor in spin-offs' networks, being the sole partner for some of them. But half of the RBSOs have moved beyond the academic sphere, being frequently a central element in tripartite technological relationships between research and other organisations and occupying an intermediation position in the network, thus potentially acting as facilitators in knowledge circulation and transformation. Also as expected, RBSOs are predominantly located in the main metropolitan areas and tend to relate with organisations similarly located. But while geographical proximity emerges as important in the choice of partners, in about half of the cases, RBSOs knowledge networks have extended beyond regional boundaries. Given their central position in the network this suggests a role as connectors across regions that will be explored in subsequent research.


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Last updated on 2019-20-07 at 00:30