Coordinatore TRUCCO, PAOLO
Data 16-ott-2016
Titolo della tesi University knowledge and entrepreneurship: how local factors shape the conversion of university knowledge spillovers into economically useful knowledge
Abstract in italiano -
Abstract in inglese In the last decades, the issue of whether and how universities influence the local economic context has received increasing attention from both academics and policy-makers. By pursuing the so-called “third mission”, universities can affect innovation and economic performance of local territories, thus increasing their competitiveness (Etzkowitz, 1998; Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff, 2000). The present thesis enters in this wide debate, by investigating the role of university knowledge spillovers in shaping the economic activities (Varga 2000; Feldman and Desrochers, 2003; Audretsch and Lehmann, 2005; Mueller, 2006; Carlsson et al., 2009; Belenzon and Schankerman, 2013). Business opportunities stemming from university knowledge spillovers require an industrialization process requiring requires considerable effort and costs (Bercovitz and Feldman, 2006) in order to be shaped into marketable applications by external economic agents (Fontes, 2005; Mueller, 2006). According to recent articles, the phenomenon of new firm creation is a suitable mechanism to transfer university knowledge to the economic environment (Audretsch and Lehmann, 2005; Acosta et al., 2011; Bonaccorsi et al., 2014) as prospective entrepreneurs are more willing to invest in the development and commercial exploitation of products and services out of university knowledge spillovers (Acs et al., 2013) than incumbent firms. However, such contributions often lack a common theoretical framework, and our understanding on the topic is far from being exhaustive (see Qian and Acs, 2013). The present research project aims at address this gap, by providing theoretical and empirical contribution to the study of the dynamics underlying the creation of new firms, established to commercialize university knowledge spillovers. More specifically, it intends to answer two overarching research questions: i) What do we know about the role of university knowledge spillovers in fostering entrepreneurship? ii) Which are the local factors that facilitate/hamper the conversion of university knowledge into economic knowledge through the creation of new firms?. By answering to the first research question, the first objective of the present research project is to offer a theoretical contribution, which consists in the systematization of the academic literature that have investigated the effect of university knowledge spillovers in fostering the creation of new firms at the local level. Then, by answering to the second research question, this thesis intends to investigate how specific local factors are able to influence such phenomenon. More specifically, I aim at analyze the mechanisms through which the characteristics of the local economic context allow certain geographical areas to experience superior performance in entrepreneurial activities, which base their competitive advantage on the commercial exploitation of university knowledge spillovers.
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