Quality comes first: university-industry collaboration as a source of academic entrepreneurship in a developing country
Much in line with what has been happening in developed economies for the past few decades, policy decision makers and industry strategists in developing countries have dedicated increased attention to initiatives that foster University-Industry Collaboration (UIC). The overarching goal is to enhance the capabilities/efficiencies of innovation systems, leveraging the role of universities as generators and disseminators of valuable knowledge, highly concentrated in academia in these laggard nations. In this article we empirically assess the extent to which institutional openness in universities towards UIC linkages affect the generation of knowledge-intensive spin-offs and academic patenting activity in the context of the State of São Paulo, Brazil. We use data for 462 knowledge-intensive entrepreneurial projects related to academics receiving grants from the PIPE Program of the State of São Paulo, Brazil, as well as international patenting behavior for 126 universities and research institutes. Additionally, we have gathered data for UIC activity (2002–2010) in the affected region. The main novelty of our approach is to qualify UIC according to three different dimensions of openness, focusing on UIC levels and objects of collaboration. Results suggest that the quality of linkages (collaboration content) is a stronger predictor of both types of university entrepreneurship than the extent to which universities are connected to firms.