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Universities and Regional Economic Development The


									Universities and Regional Economic Development:
   The Entrepreneurial University of Waterloo

              Allison Bramwell and David A. Wolfe
     Program on Globalization and Regional Innovation Systems
               Munk Centre for International Studies
                     The University of Toronto
           Canadian Political Science Association Annual Meeting
                    The University of Western Ontario
                               June 2-4, 2005
           Beyond “Knowledge Factories”

• Universities are central actors in the knowledge-based
• Seen as “knowledge factories” that generate reservoirs of
  untapped commercializable knowledge waiting to be
  taken-up by firms and applied
• Knowledge drives innovation BUT process is fluid and
  iterative rather than linear
• Universities transfer knowledge in multi-faceted ways and
  can be engaged institutional actors in the local economy
    Universities and ‘Learning’ in Knowledge-Based
    Economies: From Linear to Interactive Models of
                  Knowledge Transfer

• Knowledge transfer as an interactive vs. linear process
   – Lundvall (1992) – successful innovation requires constant learning
     and adaptation so emerging paradigm is more that of a ‘learning
   – Cooke (1988); Maskell (2001) – innovation is a social process and
     producers and users learn from each other in face-to-face exchange
     of tacit knowledge
   – Wolfe (2005) – learning occurs at the regional level through
     sharing of common networks of knowledge exchange, supported
     by regional institutions, especially universities
   – Pavitt (1991); Cohen & Levinthal (1990) – firms need to develop
     absorptive capacity through high skill sets in order to exploit
     university-generated knowledge
    The University of Waterloo: An Entrepreneurial
 University Embedded in an Entrepreneurial Community

 “Today it is the University of Waterloo. If you go back in the cluster, it
                  all comes from UW in some form or other…
Is there a cluster around the area, yeah there is. Is the external perception
                 stronger than it actually is? Yeah, I think so…
 We get referenced in presentations in San Diego, Washington and New
    York about this Waterloo cluster…but it’s clear that the University of
               Waterloo is the one thing that pulls it together.”*

Confidential interview.
        Alternative Knowledge Transfer Mechanisms

• Knowledge Creation
    – not just primary research but also technical support for firm-based R&D
      through project-oriented consulting and joint research projects
• Human Capital Formation
    – international reputation for producing skilled graduates in math, sciences,
      and computer engineering supported by Co-op Program
• Global Linkages
    – researchers act as conduits for global ‘pipelines’ of knowledge that
      contribute to local ‘buzz’
• Engaged Entrepreneurial Institution
    – acts as a “good community player” that shapes and supports local
      networks and flows of knowledge that underpin a highly successful
      regional economy
   “There is an entrepreneurial identification process where
students go back and forth to industry which gives individuals
  experience in industry. Faculty members will go back and
   talk to their students, and co-op students are enthusiastic
 coming back from their terms. The University IP Policy also
     attracts entrepreneurial researchers interested in the IP
    dividend, with strong commitments to industry. Due to
 various programs such as the Co-op Program, the University
 of Waterloo has had, from the outset, very strong university-
  industry linkages. As a result, we’ve never had any major
problems promoting [these linkages] as they pay dividends in
                        the community.”*
                        Confidential interview.

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