A Stepwise, Actor-Based Approach to the Establishment of Science–Industry Co-operations

  • Joachim Hemer
  • Henning Kroll
Part of the Innovation, Technology, and Knowledge Management book series (ITKM)


Science–industry cooperations (SIC) have from various perspectives been a major subject of interest for innovation studies during the past decades. In the course of extensive academic discussions it has become commonly accepted that the exchange of knowledge and the transfer of technology between the scientific and the industrial sector is based on an interactive process of personal exchange between many actors from different fields of science and industry. One of the issues not yet comprehensively addressed by existing theoretical and empirical work is the process of the emergence of a cooperation before the first agreement is reached. This chapter will argue that an approach with a comprehensive focus on the key driving actors can better contribute to a understanding of how cooperations develop than a system-based approach or a rational choice approach that disregards personal characteristics. It will argue that neither purely actor-based nor purely institution-based approaches alone make for a good explanation, but that, conceptually, both are required. More precisely, it will attempt to strike a balance by taking the actors decisions as the main foundation of the analysis while considering institutional and organizational factors as mediating framework conditions. To do so, we will briefly review existing conceptual literature and then review case study evidence that Fraunhofer ISI has collected during its practical work in this subject field in the course of the past decade in the light of the conceptual notions following from it. On this basis, a conceptual approach to analyse the early-stages of cooperative agreements will be developed.


Organisational Factor Framework Condition Soft Skill Public Research Institution Industry Collaboration 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation ResearchKarlsruheGermany

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