University-industry Collaboration in Denmark: The Consequences of Industry-funded Research Projects on Key University Activities - Gaining Insights From the Perspectives of Academic Researchers

Anna Katharina Schroers

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Today’s knowledge economy has increasingly emphasized the significance of collaboration between university and industry, as a means of facilitating the commercial exploitation of academic research. However, due to this rising trend academic researchers are expected to fulfill additional activities besides the more traditional functions of research and teaching, which can often cause conflicts. In this context, this study analyzes the current state of affairs of university-industry (UI) collaboration in Denmark and investigates the impact of industry-funded academic research on the performance of university researchers’ core activities. For this reason, various statistical datasets and country reports are analyzed, as well as fourteen in-depth interviews were conducted during April-June 2016 among academic researchers from two Danish universities. With regard to the current extent of UI collaboration in Denmark, the data reveals that UI collaboration is a central focus in national policy-making and has gained increasing significance. Nevertheless, results indicate that the movement is still in a development phase and not yet institutionalized on the university level. With regard to the impact of industry funding on university researchers core academic activities, findings show that industrial input is predominantly perceived as positive and complementary to other academic functions. Similarly, academic researchers mention various beneficial contributions for research, teaching and fundraising activities. In contrast, negative effects are perceived to have a minor relevance for other core academic functions. However, researchers’ efforts to develop preventative strategies on an individual level for effective conflict management shows that academics are well informed about conflict potential with industry, and at the same time cope with such situations regardless of institutional support structures. Overall, the results provide implications for national policy-makers focusing on the strengthening of UI collaboration and also for university management in implementing effective strategies for successful collaboration support.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages103
SupervisorsChristoph Grimpe