University-Business Cooperation (UBC) beyond Research & Development: Developing an integrative framework through a systematic literature review.
In view of the multiple changes caused by globalization and the development of technology in current markets, numerous studies analyse the role of universities in the socio-economic development of regions (Uyarra, 2010). Within this current we also find the analysis of cooperation between universities and the business fabric (hereafter UBC) that leads to the improvement of territorial competitiveness (Davey et al., 2018).
There is currently a great deal of evidence reflecting the commitment of many governments around the world who foster this cooperation through various mechanisms and activities (EC, 2017) (Ranga, Mroczkowski and Araiso, 2017). Nonetheless, the UBC is not something new, as it dates back several decades.
Along with the development of the university's missions (Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff, 2000), the university's cooperation with the business fabric has also been transformed and has evolved, together with the needs of markets and society, giving rise to new types of activity.
Due to the importance and impact of this cooperation on various social and economic spheres, as well as the multiple stakeholders it brings together, the UBC is a complex field of study. For this reason, it has been analysed both by governments and by multiple authors across different disciplines. As a result, the existing literature is abundant but fragmented (Galán-Muros, 2015), showing various islands of knowledge ranging from studies that address different areas of cooperation from the perspective of the company to other studies from the perspective of the university. Moreover, this fragmentation is aggravated by the lack of consensus among authors on the use of key terms. We find few bibliographical references about the UBC from a holistic perspective, and although there are systematic reviews on the scope of the UBC (Mascarenhas, Matos Ferreira and Marques, 2018) (Rybnicek and Königsgruber, 2018) (Skute et al., 2017), these offer a partial insight as they analyze the UBC mainly from a research viewpoint.
This lack of synthesis presents an opportunity for the realization of an integrative framework that approaches cooperation from a global perspective, setting the way for future lines of research that generate knowledge in the different areas of cooperation activities among which education is also included.
For all the aforementioned reasons, this article presents a systematic and innovative review of the UBC literature which seeks to shed light on the process of cooperation from a global perspective. It does this by offering an integrative framework that brings together key aspects in the process of cooperation between the university and businesses in different fields. The analysed literature includes both quantitative and qualitative peer-reviewed articles of high quality, published in journals on the Web of Science and Scopus databases. The research was developed using a combination of several keywords such as: universit*, high* education*, business*, firm*, industr*, enterpris*, cooperation*, collaboration*, link*, interaction* and activit* in title, abstract and/or keywords fields with no temporal restrictions.
The article is structured as follows: first, we give an introduction to university-industry cooperation; secondly, we refer to the methodology used and the steps taken to carry out the review; thirdly, we present the results and conclusions obtained; and, finally, we conclude by drawing important implications from research in addition to suggesting potential future lines of research.