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11.12 Knowledge flows through social networks in a cluster

 

Knowledge flows through social networks in a cluster: Comparing university and industry links
Christian R. stergaard

Knowledge spillovers from a university to the local industry play an important role in high-technology clusters, but we know little about these spillovers. This paper examines empirically the extent of informal contacts between employees in firms and local university researchers in a wireless communications cluster. Furthermore, it analyses the features of an engineer who acquires knowledge from these informal contacts. The university–industry contacts are compared to results for informal contacts between employees in firms. The research shows that the interfirm informal contacts are more numerous than university informal contacts. Likewise, knowledge is more frequently acquired fromengineers in other firms than through university–industry contacts. However, not all engineers in the cluster have informal contacts or acquire knowledge through these. Engineers who have participated in formal projects with university researchers and engineers who are educated at the local university have a higher likelihood of acquiring knowledge from informal contacts with university researchers.