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Barriers to university-industry linkages and international partnerships: the cases of Centres of Excellence in Chile and Peru

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posted on 2023-06-09, 23:08 authored by Pavel Gabriel Corilloclla Terbullino
University-industry linkages (UILs) have been promoted through a variety of policy instruments. This study focuses on one such instrument, the so-called Centres of Excellence (CoEs), to address three gaps in the literature. First, CoEs have existed since the 1980s but a common definition has not yet been agreed, while their structure and practices have been studied to a limited extent. Moreover, experiences in Latin America are quite recent and have been hardly studied at all. Therefore, this thesis compares Chilean and Peruvian centres in terms of their internal organisation to support UILs. In doing so, we also contextualise the study of barriers to UILs and the role of international partners. Second, studies on National Systems of Innovation (NSI) have cautioned that frameworks for studying UILs in the developed world may offer little guidance for their analysis and policy recommendations in developing countries. Given that barriers to UILs in Latin America have remained under-studied despite the policy attention devoted to these linkages in the region, we approach these phenomena with a conceptual framework that takes account of the conditions of weak NSIs by including three types of barriers: orientation-related, transaction-related and capacity-related barriers. Third, CoEs in Chile and Peru involve the participation of international partners, mainly research and technology organisations (RTOs) and universities. The internationalisation of these actors has previously been analysed from a home country perspective by studying their motivations, practices and benefits. Complementing this approach, we provide evidence on their intermediary roles in developing countries and regarding local actors (i.e. adopting a host country perspective). We conclude that CoEs are partnerships configured as specific contexts for UILs, within which several interaction channels are used. Based on this characterisation, we elaborate a conceptual distinction between CoEs and RTOs as they show different patterns in their interactions in regard to firms and universities. Moreover, we find that the configuration of CoEs in Chile and Peru differ substantially from initiatives in developed countries. In terms of barriers to UILs, this work advances the understanding of their theoretical foundations, which helps explain orientation-related and transaction-related barriers, based on differences between the university subsystem and the business subsystem. It also finds that capacity-related barriers play a relevant role because they can explain, at least partially, the configuration of the other two types of barriers. Moreover, capacity drawbacks, which comprise weaknesses in actors and in the collaborative infrastructure, may limit international collaboration and provide insights to explain why the international partners of CoEs have been fulfilling a very limited role in building local capabilities and supporting local UILs.


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