Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Universities, knowledge networks, and regional competitiveness : perspectives from the UK
Author: Zhang, Qiantao
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 9094
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
As the need for regions to convert knowledge within universities into industrial and commercial success is increasingly acknowledged in the knowledge-based economy, universities are no longer considered to be isolated islands of knowledge, but as institutions increasingly engaged with a range of external partners through various types of knowledge networks. Although studies have examined the importance of interactions between academics and businesses in building competitive advantages of regions, there has been much less work considering how the nature of interactions is associated with regional competitiveness. This research explores these issues through a study of the network relationships between universities and businesses in the context of the UK, where uneven regional economic development has long been a feature of the economy. By adopting a critical realist paradigm and employing both qualitative and quantitative methods, this research reveals both ‘what’ knowledge exchange activities are engaged by universities and ‘how’ the intensity and performance of those activities are associated with regional competitiveness. National findings suggest that universities in more competitive regions generate higher income from engaging in knowledge exchange activities than those in uncompetitive areas. However, academics in uncompetitive regions are more actively engaged in knowledge exchange activities than their counterparts in competitive areas. It is also found that the intensity of firm-level interaction with universities is associated with the regional location of firms, especially in the case of smaller firms. In particular, firms located within relatively economically competitive regions tend to be more positively engaged with the use of academic knowledge. Firms in uncompetitive regions have lower levels of demand for academic knowledge, even though there is often sufficient supply. Overall, the study indicates that the competitiveness of regions in the UK is positively associated with a strong demand from businesses for knowledge generated by universities. The complexity of the knowledge exchange process is further highlighted in case studies of university initiatives, which show that universities engage with businesses in a diverse spectrum even at the regional level. It is concluded that future policy intervention targeted at fostering university-industry interactions needs to more fully acknowledge territorial patterns of knowledge exchange.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G Geography (General)