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Title: Universities' academic research and knowledge-transfer activities in a catch-up country : the case of Korea
Author: Kwon, Ki-Seok
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 5228
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2010
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The main research topic of this study is universities' academic research and knowledge-transfer activities in a catch-up country, particularly the relationship between the two activities, which has been rarely examined in previous research. In order to understand this issue against existing literature, a critical review of previous studies has been attempted, considering the idiosyncratic characteristics of the Korean national innovation system. As a result, at the three analysis levels (i.e. national, organisational and individual levels), we propose three conceptual elements respectively: a tentative historical path of universities in catch-up countries; critical factors influencing knowledge transfer activities of universities in catch-up countries; and academics operating in synergy mode. Thereafter, based on the methodology integrating not only the three analysis levels but also qualitative and quantitative approaches, we analyse the data collected from the interviews with Korean academics, survey responses from Korean academics and government White Papers on the activities of Korean universities. The results show a close and positive relationship between Korean universities' academic research and knowledge-transfer activities across the three levels. Firstly, during the last several decades, the Korean government has strongly encouraged the development of teaching, academic research and knowledge-transfer activities of Korean universities in harmony with the different developmental stages of Korean industry. This has resulted in selective patterns of the universities' three activities (e.g. concentration of scientific activities in certain fields). Secondly, organisational factors such as scientific capacity and industry funding are important for universities' knowledge-transfer activities in a catch-up country, which corroborates the positive relationship between the two activities. Finally, in terms of the factors influencing the synergy mode (i.e. a positive relationship between academic research and knowledge-transfer activities), academics' career stage and disciplines are important. This is related to the rapid expansion of the Korean academic system and the selectivity found in its activities. Based on these findings, it is tempting to conclude that universities in East Asian catch-up countries have developed their own academic system different from those in developed countries, which can be characterised as having strong government control and a high level of interaction with other actors in the national innovation system. Therefore, the application of the controversy over the direct economic contribution of universities in western countries to the context of catch-up countries is quite limited.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa. Oceania) ; L Education (General)