This paper deals with the conditions of effective transfer of technology from Universities and public research institutions to small and medium-sized enterprises. The theoretical and empirical analyses lead to the conclusion that the chances of improving the technology transfer does not lie in a perfect market setting but in a socio-economic network. We find that there are companies which learned to use contacts to scientists of public research institutions to derive highly innovative products and processes and others which did not, although they are technologically advanced enough to cope with the development of innovations. We call the former insiders and the latter outsiders since the most important obstacle for the outsiders is to overcome the barrier of getting to know each other and to join the scientific network. This is in our opinion the main challenge for politics to support the transfer of technology to companies besides sufficient public funds for federal science and technology.
Beise-Zee, Marian and A. Spielkamp (1996), Technologietransfer von Hochschulen: Ein Insider-Outsider-Effekt, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 96-10, Mannheim. Download