Macro-economic factors in the determination and the impact of university-industry collaboration- policy implications in developed and in less developed countries

Raphael Bar-El
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Dafna Schwartz
IDC Herzliya

At the micro-economic level both the factors that determine the tendency of a firm to collaborate with university and the impact of such collaboration on innovation achievements have been investigated in many studies. Still, at the macro-economic level, policy making for the optimization of such collaboration requires more in-depth analysis. This research study tries to make a contribution to the following issues, using statistical analysis of the database of the Global Innovation Index (GII) which covers 127 countries, divided in “high income” and other economies (as defined as “middle-high”, middle-low” and “low income” by the classification of the World Bank).
First, we analyze the factors that influence the level of university-industry collaboration in each country, as evaluated by GII on the basis of data from the World Economic Forum (WEF). We find through regression analysis three main factors: the quality ranking of the universities in the country (as compared with the ranking in other countries), the intensity of researchers, and the research and development (R&D) funds coming from abroad. Actually, a distinction between developed economies (high income) and less developed economies shows that the influence of external R&D funds is significantly needed in less developed countries and not in developed economies.
Second, we find that the impact of the collaboration between university and industry on the promotion of innovation differs between types of innovation. We find a clear positive influence on knowledge creation, in terms of an increased number of patent applications. Such impact is additive to the impact of the level of R&D funds in the country. However, this could not be proved for less developed countries, as a consequence of the too low level of local universities. The impact on non-technological innovation (business models, organizational models) was also found as significant, in developed as well as less developed regions.
Such results lead to the need of a further in-depth investigation of the policies that should be adopted in order to promote innovation, mainly in less developed countries.