Fraunhofer ISI Discussion Papers Innovation Systems and Policy Analysis 37
It is generally claimed that universities provide the scientific basis for future technological progress. Still, empirical evidence of the impact of direct links between universities and firms remains weak and is often at least inconsistent. This paper aims at contributing to the literature by analyzing how direct academic involvement affects the output of inventive activities of research teams in different organizational backgrounds. By applying a unique dataset of German academic and corporate patents, we find that boundary-spanning knowledge production with academic inventors raises the innovative performance of SMEs and MNEs. Furthermore, geographical proximity between team members is generally shown to be valuable for team performance in terms of the influence on future technological developments. At the same time, the results indicate that academic involvement helps inventor teams to profit from spatially distant knowledge sources.