SOTA Review

University-Industry Collaboration: Are SMEs Different?

SOTA review No 41

Associated Themes
  • Innovation

There is significant interest in university-industry collaboration among both academics and policymakers. These collaborative links are regarded as an important mechanism for the pursuit of R&D activities within an economy and encouraging innovation among firms. Due to their relative resource constraints, SMEs potentially stand to benefit from these collaborations as a means for leveraging new knowledge and expertise into the firm. However, perceptions of non-engagement with universities among SMEs are commonplace within the academic literature. In order to investigate this in more detail, this review examines the impact of firm size on university-industry collaborations to assess whether SMEs are in fact distinct. The findings suggest that while SMEs do collaborate with universities, they are subject to differing dynamics as firm size has a significant impact on type of collaboration, the outcomes, perception of barriers, and reliance on local universities.