Research intensity and knowledge transfer activity in UK universities

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193 Citations (Scopus)


As the innovation process has become more open and networked, Government policy in the UK has sought to promote both research excellence in the university sector and the translation of this into economic benefit through university–business engagement. However, this policy approach has tended to be applied uniformly with little account for organisational differences within the sector. In this paper we consider if differences between universities in their research performance is reflected in their knowledge transfer activity. Specifically, as universities develop a commercialization agenda are the strategic priorities for knowledge transfer, the organisational supports in place to facilitate knowledge transfer and the scale and scope of knowledge transfer activity different for high research intensive (HRI) and low research intensive (LRI) universities? The findings demonstrate that universities’ approach to knowledge transfer is shaped by institutional and organisational resources, in particular their ethos and research quality, rather than the capability to undertake knowledge transfer through a Technology Transfer Office (TTO). Strategic priorities for knowledge transfer are reflected in activity, in terms of the dominance of specific knowledge transfer channels, the partners with which universities engage and the geography of business engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-275
Number of pages14
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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