We provide a systematic review of the literature on academic engagement from 2011 onwards, which was the cut-off year of a previous review article published in Research Policy. Academic engagement refers to knowledge-related interactions of academic scientists with external organisations. It includes activities such as collaborative research with industry, contract research, consulting and informal ties. We consolidate what is known about the individual, organisational and institutional antecedents of academic engagement, and its consequences for research, commercialisation, and society at large. Our results suggest that individual characteristics associated with academic engagement include being scientifically productive, senior, male, locally trained, and commercially experienced. Academic engagement is also socially conditioned by peer effects and disciplinary characteristics. In terms of consequences, academic engagement is positively associated with academics’ subsequent scientific productivity. We propose new areas of investigation where evidence remains inconclusive, including individual life cycle effects, the role of organisational contexts and incentives, cross-national comparisons, and the impact of academic engagement on the quality of subsequent research as well as the educational, commercial and society-wide impact.
Bibliographical notePublished online 29 August 2020.
- University-industry relations
- Technology transfer
- Academic entrepreneurship
- Collaborative research
- Academic consulting