The Production of Academic Technological Knowledge: an Exploration at the Research Group Level

  • Manuel AcostaEmail author
  • Daniel Coronado
  • Mª Dolores León
  • Pedro Jesús Moreno


Public research institutions have a key role in a knowledge-based society as they lead scientific research and generate patentable technology directly applicable to industrial productive processes. In this paper, we address the latter role. Several well-known papers have dealt with the production of university patents at the level of universities and laboratories; however, despite the relevance of research groups in national research systems, their capacity as producers of patents has been neglected. In this paper, we fill this gap by testing the effect of previous collaborations and the scientific background of the group on the production of knowledge, measured by the number of patents. In the framework of a knowledge production function, we estimate several empirical count models with a sample of 1120 research groups affiliated to the three major public research institutions in Spain. Our findings suggest that the production of patents at the research group level is positively and significantly correlated with the variables capturing private collaboration and scientific background. The results also point to significant differences in the production of technological knowledge across institutions and areas of research.


Collaboration Knowledge production function Patents Research group 

JEL Classification

O31 O38 C21 



The authors are very grateful to two anonymous reviewers for constructive and insightful comments on earlier versions of this paper.

Funding Information

This research is supported by a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (ECO2016-79436-R).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel Acosta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Coronado
    • 1
  • Mª Dolores León
    • 1
  • Pedro Jesús Moreno
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Economía GeneralUniversity of CádizCádizSpain

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