Secondment in Lecce, Italy June 2022

I have a very enriching experience at Lecce, Italy, during my scholarly visit to NAICA società cooperativa and the University of Salento in the month of June 2022. I moved from Grenoble (France) to Lecce (Italy) to carry out task 1.2(a), included in the work package WP1, of the EM4FIT European project. The representatives of NAICA and UNISAL warmly welcomed me. My task was about Universities and Industry Interactions: “Literature reviews on the impacts of university collaborations and entrepreneurship engagement on firms’ innovation and entrepreneurial behaviors and the role of environmental and institutional forces in emerging economies.”

My research work during exchange uncovered that there is a three-directional flow of exchange in University-Industry collaborations (UICs), i.e., (1) knowledge transfer, (2) technology transfer, and (3) resources transfers, that subsequently accelerates entrepreneurial engagement. Knowledge transfer includes sharing academic knowledge into viable commercialized projects. Academic and scientific knowledge is shared through research reports, working papers, patents, and publications that further transform into academic spinoffs and startups due to UICs. The second critical mechanism is technology transfers. It has a bi-directional relationship between university and industry and even could be possible among firms. It includes innovation transfer, product development, and intellectual property as the main sources of sharing technological developments among partners. The last mechanism is resource transfers, which may include financial and non-financial resources. Most research emphasized that firms provide financial resources to academia to acquire new knowledge that further helps firms to develop breakthrough innovations. However, there are also human resource exchanges among partners, including mobilities and visiting scholars, that also play an important role in understanding and progressing knowledge creation.

However, past research also revealed both barriers and enablers of UICs and subsequent entrepreneurial engagements. The main barriers identified are the lack of trust and communication between university and industry partners. Both barriers impede the positive outcomes of UICs and also restrict entrepreneurial engagements. However, research revealed that business incubation centers serve as intermediary organizations enabling UICs and subsequent entrepreneurial engagement. Business incubators, being the intermediary organization, establish trust and take responsibility for effectively managing the goals and objectives of UICs. In sum, it is contended that business incubators accelerate the relationship between UICs and entrepreneurial engagement.

Furthermore, the research opens several interesting future avenues to explore, such as out of the identified three directional flows of exchange in UICs, which one is more effective? What combinations of these flows are important for entrepreneurial engagements? Further research on these areas helps clarify our current understanding and assists policymakers in shaping an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Subhan Shahid

Ph.D. Scholar

Grenoble Ecole de Management, France

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