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Urban agglomerations, knowledge intensive services and innovation: Establishing the core connections

It took us a while to go from an idea to an accepted paper. But now Sverre Herstad and I have received the news that our paper “Urban agglomerations, knowledge intensive services and innovation: Establishing the core connections” is accepted for publication in Entrepreneurship and Regional Development.

In this paper we investigate how resources available in urban agglomerations influence the (1) organizational form, (2) innovation activity and (3) collaborative linkages of knowledge intensive business services firms (KIBS). We use rather comprehensive Norwegian data: We use the Norwegian employer-employee (LEED) registers for the years 2000 -2008 to connect the organizational forms and labour market positions of individual KIBS to their physical locations. For the decision to engage and for subsequent collaborative ties we utilize unique establishment-level information available from the Norwegian Community Innovation Survey of 2008.

We find that compared to their counterparts elsewhere, KIBS located in Norwegian large-city labour market regions are more likely to be independent from multi-establishment business organizations and thus reliant on resources available externally, in their locations. This is most pronounced in the central and western business districts of the capital, wherein independent KIBS exhibit high turnover of professionals and are less inclined to engage actively in innovation. Yet, those that do engage use the capital region economy as a platform for engaging with both domestic and international collaboration partners. Only by consecutively analysing these aspects and accounting for the selection processes involved is the empirical analysis able to uncover contrasting firm-level responses to the same urban economy resource base.

University Business Cooperation in Austria

Is there a lot and systematic bridging activities between universities and businesses in Austria? Well, from an innovation systems point of view one would expect that there is. At least from a normative point of view there should be. Knowledge exchange between business and university does not only increase the economies innovation capabilities, it also helps universities to define their role and to fulfill their third mission. But the reality is somewhat more sobering.

The report on “the State of University-Business Cooperation in Austria“, which I had the pleasure to contribute to, has be release recently. In particular the study finds that there is a lack of commitment to university-business cooperation in Austria. The most developed form of university-busines interaction is collaboration and commercialization of R&D. University┬ámanagement and academics perceive the barriers to cooperation between universities and industry differently. Both believe to extract rather low benefits from university-industry cooperation.

The state of affairs in other European countries is well documented here.