The Role of Proximity Dimensions in Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration in Peripheral Regions: Insights from a Comparative Case Study in Northern Norway
It is commonly argued in the literature on regional innovation that regions must continuously develop new economic activities to compensate for economic decline. If a region manages to diversify from an existing path, it can sustain long-term economic development. One of the measures taken to increase these types of opportunities and to avoid lock-in is to stimulate a closer relationship and collaboration between universities and industry partners. However, we know little about the formation and investigation of successful university-industry relationships in regions outside metropolitan areas. This paper seeks to fill this research gap by investigating how different dimensions of cognitive, organizational, social and geographical proximity facilitate or hinder innovation processes in collaborations between industry and universities in peripheral regions. We find that social proximity, combined with high organizational proximity, overcomes the barriers presented by low geographical proximity. Social proximity compensates for thin regional structures with few high-tech firms, a lack of knowledge producers and a weak support system. An important policy implication is that stimulating collaboration within areas of expertise possessed by university and industry partners create potential for innovation.
Copyright (c) 2018 Trond Nilsen, Thomas Andre Lauvås
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